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Development of a Mathematical Model for Physical Disintegration of Flushable Consumer Products in Wastewater Systems

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The processes that flushable solid products may undergo after discharge to wastewater systems are (1) physical disintegration of solids resulting from turbulence, (2) direct dissolution of water-soluble components, (3) hydrolysis of solids to form soluble components, and (4) biodegradation of soluble and insoluble components. We develop a mathematical model for physical disintegration of flushable solid consumer products and test it with two different flushable products—product A, which has 40% water soluble-content, and product B, which has no water-soluble components. We present our modeling analysis of experimental results, from which we computed disintegration rate constants and fractional distribution coefficients for the disintegration of larger solids. The rate constants for solids of product A in units of (hour −1) are 0.45 for >8-mm, 2.25 × 10 −2 for 4- to 8-mm, 0.9 × 10 −2 for 2- to 4-mm, and 1.26 × 10 −2 for 1- to 2-mm solids. The rate constants for solids of product B in units of hour −1 are 1.8 for >8-mm, 1.8 for 4- to 8-mm, 3.6 × 10 −1 for 2- to 4-mm, and 2.25 × 10 −3 for 1- to 2-mm solids. As indicated by the rate constants, larger solids disintegrate at a faster rate than smaller solids. In addition, product B disintegrated much faster and went mostly to the smallest size range, while product A disintegrated more slowly and was transferred to a range of intermediate solid sizes.
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Keywords: disintegration; flushable solids; model; sewers; turbulence

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 May 2009

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  • Water Environment Research (WER) is published monthly, including an annual Literature Review. A subscription to WER includes access to the latest content back to 1992, as well as access to fast track articles. An individual subscription is valid for 12 months from month of purchase.

    Water Environment Research (WER) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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