Violent geysers occur due to the uncontrolled release of air at a vertical shaft. Explosive geysers are highly destructive. Many municipalities operate their combined sewer systems (CSSs) at a fraction of their maximum system capacity to avoid geysers. Operating CSSs at a fraction of their maximum capacity means that combined sewer overflows (CSOs) occur more often than they should. CSOs are a major water pollution concern for approximately 772 cities in the U.S.

Our research has produced violent geysers in a laboratory setting for the first time. The geysers produced consist of a few consecutive eruptions (three to eight) within a time frame of a few seconds with heights that may exceed 30 m. These characteristics resemble those geysers that occurred in actual stormwater and combined sewer systems. A YouTube video of one of our geyser flow experiments can be seen here.

In addition to laboratory experiments, we are performing 3D numerical simulations of violent geysers using an open source CFD model, OpenFOAM. The numerical model was validated using our experimental results. Currently we are testing various retrofitting strategies in our Lab and using OpenFOAM.

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Snapshots of maximum eruption heights for four of our geyser experiments

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Sequential snapshots of geyser eruption in one of our experiments

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Sequential snapshots in the horizontal pipe of one of our geyser experiments

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Snapshots of our numerical simulations produced with OpenFoam


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