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Tertiary water treatment is used to remove total suspended solids (TSS) from wastewater. Suez uses compressible media for their tertiary water treatment. There have been supplier issues in the past such as unreliability, long lead-times, unknown manufacturing process, and chances of resale. The chance of resale is an important issue because the specifications may change from one supplier to another.

The group was tasked to characterize different types of compressible media for water treatment, design a lab scale filtration unit, and design and manufacture a new media to be tested. In order to gain an operational expenditure advantage, Suez accomplishes media compression without the use of a mechanical device, which was taken into account when designing the filtration unit.

The media characterization determined that the media’s fiber was crimped polyethylene terephthalate and the node was atactic polystyrene. The original media was tested on the lab scale filtration unit at concentrations of 10, 30, and 50 mg TSS/L. Due to the size of PVC column diameter (3 inches), channeling and wall-effects were observed, which allowed solids to pass through the media. Because of these effects, the 10 mg TSS/L run was the only acceptable test in terms of turbidity requirements (<2 NTU).

New media was designed and manufactured using uncrimped polyethylene terephthalate and hot melt adhesive. The team has future plans to test the new media on the filtration unit. It is expected that the media will be less successful because the fibers are uncrimped.

Publication Date



Media, filtration, compression, wall-effects


Chemical Engineering | Engineering

Faculty Advisor/Mentor

Dr. B. Frank Gupton

Faculty Advisor/Mentor

Rudy Krack

Faculty Advisor/Mentor

Dr. Bennett Ward

VCU Capstone Design Expo Posters


© The Author(s)

Date of Submission

May 2018

Compressible Media for Water Treatment