In this study, non-powered hydraulic mixing with three layers of baffles and holes was evaluated as an alternative to vertical shaft impellers in a rapid mixing process through both computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modeling and field applications. From the CFD modeling, the turbulence (i.e., vortex rings) caused by excess kinetic energy between the inlet and second-layer baffle ensures rapid mixing of the coagulants throughout the total water flow and overcomes the damping effect of the components in a mixing basin. Although optimal inlet velocity needs to be investigated for sufficient mixing between coagulants and pollutants in raw water with relatively low energy consumption and maintenance costs, non-powered hydraulic mixing developed in this study was proved to create strong turbulence and can be applied in any water treatment plants that involves coagulation-flocculation processes. Based on the comparison of the water quality between two water treatment plants using identical raw water and coagulant operated from 2014 to 2016, no difference in water quality of treated water indicated that non-powered hydraulic mixing can be replaced with vertical shaft impellers, hence, both energy consumption and maintenance costs can be reduced. Further study is warranted to optimize non-powered hydraulic mixing for the tradeoff between mixing efficiency and energy consumption in the water treatment plants.
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