What Is a Wastewater Clarifier?

July 3, 2023

What Is a Wastewater Clarifier?

Wastewater treatment is an essential process that helps to protect our environment by removing pollutants and contaminants from sanitation, industrial, or agricultural waste and returning the water to the ecosystem. One critical component of a wastewater treatment plant is the wastewater clarifier, which plays a prominent role in the clarification and sedimentation process.

In this post, we will discuss what a wastewater clarifier is, how it works, and the benefits of using this essential piece of equipment in the wastewater treatment process.

Wastewater Clarifier

A wastewater clarifier is a tank-like structure used in wastewater treatment to remove suspended solids (SS) and other impurities from wastewater via sedimentation. Often, the clarifier acts as the primary treatment stage, allowing for the separation and removal of solids from water to meet specific water quality criteria while minimizing its impact on the environment.

How Does a Wastewater Clarifier Work?

A wastewater clarifier works by using gravity to separate the wastewater’s solids from the liquid. The sedimentation process begins as the wastewater enters the tank, where it flows undisturbed until the solids settle at the bottom of the tank, creating a sludge layer. Meanwhile, the cleaner water, called the clarified effluent, rises to the top of the tank, where it is removed and then conveyed for further treatment.

During the sedimentation process, the clarifier employs different mechanisms to remove the solids from the wastewater. The two primary mechanisms are settling and flocculation.

Settling: This process occurs when heavy particles, such as sand or grit, sink to the bottom of the tank due to their weight. As the wastewater moves through the clarifier, these particles settle out, leaving only the lighter solids suspended in the liquid.

Flocculation: Flocculation occurs when particles of different sizes and weights combine and clump together due to electrical charges. This process produces larger particles that can settle out more quickly and efficiently than individual small particles.

Once the solids have settled to the bottom, they form a sludge layer that is removed from the clarifier and conveyed for further treatment, such as dewatering. The treated water then flows out of the top of the clarifier into a secondary treatment stage.

Benefits of Using a Wastewater Clarifier

There are several benefits that come with using a wastewater clarifier in the treatment process. Here are some of the primary advantages:

1. Improved wastewater quality: A wastewater clarifier is an essential part of wastewater treatment systems, allowing for the removal of suspended solids and other impurities from the wastewater. This ensures that the treated water meets regulated water quality standards before being released back into the environment.

2. Enhanced capacity: Incorporating a wastewater clarifier helps to increase the capacity of a wastewater treatment plant. This is because the clarifier can separate a large amount of solids, allowing the plant to handle more wastewater and increase overall efficiency.

3. Faster treatment times: Since wastewater clarifiers are an essential part of the primary treatment process, they help to improve the efficiency of the wastewater treatment plant. By removing solids quickly and efficiently, the clarifier speeds up wastewater treatment times, leading to faster processing of water for reuse.

4. Cost-effective treatment: Wastewater clarifiers help us save costs by reducing the amount of sludge produced during the treatment process. Since the sludge produced is dewatered and compacted, it takes up less space, thus reducing disposal costs.

5. Reduced environmental impact: The use of wastewater clarifiers in the treatment process helps to protect the environment by reducing the amount of pollution from industrial and agricultural waste. This reduces the impact on our waterways and provides a useful and sustainable alternative for water reuse and recycling.


A wastewater clarifier is an essential piece of equipment in wastewater treatment systems. It helps to remove suspended solids and other impurities from wastewater while increasing the overall capacity and improving the efficiency of the treatment process. By using wastewater clarifiers, we can save costs while reducing the impact of industrial and agricultural waste on the environment. With technology advancements, we can expect the development of smart and efficient clarifiers in the future, which will make the treatment process more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly.

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Enviro-Line Co, Inc.