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Using CFD to address a reservoir's design challenges

An increased baffle factor cut the volume needed to achieve the right disinfectant dosage by 33%.


The Garrett A. Morgan Water Works Plant draws from Lake Erie to deliver up to 150 million gallons (568 million liters) per day of drinking water to the City of Cleveland and its suburbs.

The plant needed a new reservoir, but challenges included space constraints, numerous underground utilities, and the need to demolish existing infrastructure and integrate the new reservoir with the treatment plant and high-lift pumping station.


The Cleveland Division of Water retained Mott MacDonald to design and provide construction management services for a 15-million-gallon (57 million liters) reservoir. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) promised to be a valuable tool for handling the complex design challenges.


Using CFD modeling, the Mott MacDonald design increased the effective volume of the reservoir by optimizing the internal baffle walls. The design requirement included a 0.6 baffle factor.

Aided by CFD modeling, a 0.9 baffle factor was achieved, and confirmed by field tracer studies. The increased baffle factor resulted in a 33% decrease in the volume required to achieve the necessary disinfectant dosage.

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