Plant McDonough, owned and operated by Southern Company, has experienced excessive siltation at the makeup water intake. The intake uses cylindrical wedgewire screening within an intake originally designed for much larger, once-through cooling water flows. Flow modeling was performed to provide a viable passive solution to reducing the sediment accumulation at the intake. To model the geometric details of the system accurately, a field survey was performed prior to the flow modeling efforts. The flow study included both CFD modeling and scale physical modeling.
For this investigation, Alden developed a 1:20 scale live bed physical model. This model was extremely well tuned to reproduce the behavior of bed load sediment. Even with the very fine crushed walnut shell particles, however, it was challenging to reproduce the behavior of suspended load. The use of a high fidelity CFD model, therefore, proved extremely useful for this project, in that suspended load is generally very accurately tracked with CFD models, which are not well validated for bed load simulation. By using the two together, the two extremes of sediment transport are captured, and developing a solution that covers this range has a high likelihood of success.