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How to perform a header check on a UASB or EGSB

Rule Out Flow Distribution Issues With a Header Check

So you have gone through the biological issues; the temperature, pH, nutrients, VFA, and so on. One of the next steps to take when troubleshooting a poorly performing granular reactor is to run a Header Check. On the bottom of the UASBs and EGSBs there are headers that inject the water evenly into the reactor. Sometimes these headers can plug and even worse, sometimes they can break. In either case, feed water is not being distributed evenly and can cause short circuiting problems. Short circuits means higher F:M, higher VFAs, or granule loss.

A header check is done simply by closing all but one header, measure the flow rate, then repeat for the next one. Of course when you close most of the headers the feed pump or control valve is going to attempt to open up to compensate for the reduction in flow. So what you have to do is set a constant pressure on your header line before you begin. This can be done by setting the main control valve or VFD pump in manual. Just pick a good open or output % that makes sense so you don’t over pressurize. And always remember to put back in auto when done.

Rule Out Flow Distribution Issues With a Header Check

At the end of the testing, the flowrates for each header should be fairly close. We like to see it within plus or minus ten percent of each other. If you do find one header with too much flow, then you can pinch back on it until you can get in the tank (which is never fun). And if you have a plugged lines there are a few options for unplugging depending on your design. Give us or your manufacturer a call for more details on your specific situation.

This test is also great to run on a regular basis to find problems before they become a big issue. Every one to two months is not a bad idea for checking the headers.

Download Header Check Data Sheet example.

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