Basic Information About Bar Screens

Bar screens are typically at the headworks (entrance) of a wastewater treatment plant (WWTP), bar screens are used to remove large objects such as rags, plastics bottles, bricks, solids, and toy action figures from the waste stream entering the treatment plant. Bar screens are vital to the successful operation of a plant, they reduce the damage of valves, pumps, and other appurtenances.  Floatables are also removed at the entrance to a treatment plant, these are objects that "float" on the surface of the water and if aren't removed end up in the primaries or aeration tanks. It is not uncommon to see floatables hanging over the weirs of some clarifiers. Though they don't diminish the function of those processes, floatables are rather unsightly. 
Trash Racks
Manual Bar Screens
Mechanical Bar Screens
Chain Bar Screens
Another place where floatables can become are problem is at combined sewer overflow (CSO) outfalls, which is also where trash racks and bars screens are used. During wet weather events when a treatment plants capacity is overloaded flow may be diverted to an outfall where raw sewage and rain water are discharged to a body of water. Both trash racks and bar screens may be installed at an upstream location of the outfall, in some instances they are installed in tandem. The trash rack is installed upstream of the bar screen to prevent damage to the unit. Even though the bar screens are very durable, they are not designed to withstand the impact of some of the debris that enter a combined sewer. In many cases screening is the only treatment the combined sewer flow will see prior to being discharged.

Although this site focuses primarily on coarse bar screens, some WWTPs utilize both coarse bar screens and fine screens. 
Reciprocating Rake Bar Screens
Catenary Bar Screens
Continuous Belt Bar Screens

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Coarse bar screens (or bar screens) are distinguished from fine screens by the space opening. Coarse screens usually have a spacing of 6 mm (or 0.25 in [metric system conversion]). and larger, whereas fine screens spacing is usually between 1.5 mm (or 0.059 in) through 6 mm (or 0.25 in [metric to inches]). Fine screens are installed at some wastewater treatment plants that do not have primary treatment to minimized clogging of downstream liquid and solid processes. Fine screens have been used for "effluent polishing" which increases secondary effluent to tertiary effluent quality. They also are installed upstream of the trickling filters to minimize clogging and fouling of distributor nozzles.
Typically bar screens fall under two classification, mechanical bar screens and manual bar screens (trash racks can either be manually cleaned or mechanically cleaned). Both manual and mechanical screens contain equally spaced vertical or inclined bars that span the width of a channel. Design considerations for both mechanical and manual screens include: bar spacing, bar size, geometry of bar, channel width, angle of screen and approach velocity.

Some WWTPs plants still use manually cleaned bar screens, but because they are so labor intensive, the trend is to move toward mechanical bar screens. Mechanically bar screens are the more routinely used type because of their ability to operate automatically. 
enclosed mechanical bar screen

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In addition to the vertical or inclined bars, mechanical bar screens are equipped with rakes or some type of cleaning mechanism for removing collected debris from the face of the unit. Once screenings are collected from the unit, they are usually dewatered and hauled away to a landfill.  

There are various types of bar screens available for installation, they include but not limited to chain bar screensreciprocating rake bar screens, catenary bar screens, and continuous belt bar screens.


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Always consult with the manufacturer or your local equipment representative if you have specific questions about bar screens. This site is done by a random individual to help get you informed, but is not to substitute for professional opinion. Please read our disclaimer.

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