What are vortex chambers?
The figure on the left is a basic sketch that shows the basic idea for the Vortex chamber.
Water passes through the inlet from the bottom drain just above the cone section of the chamber. The water will then flow around the side of the vortex, rising up and out through the outlet at the top, into the next chamber of the filter.
Any solids fall to the bottom of the cone, which can be flushed away several times a day.
At the speed at which the water goes around the chamber, it is sufficient for the heavier solids to drop to the bottom and remain there until they are drained away.
It may not work with smaller floating debris like algae, and will still be present in the first biological filter chamber.
How efficient the unit is depends on the diameter, height, and the positioning of the inlet and outlet pipes. The pumping rate can also be very important.
Installing a Vortex Chamber
The above installation shows an example of the positions of all the elements of the system.
You should have a gate valve between the bottom drain and the inlet to the vortex chamber. This is so that the pipes can be flushed out. There is normally two or three bottom drain connected to the vortex chamber, each connected with their own pipe and valve.
There are vortex chambers that measure from 36 inch up to 84 inch. Purchase the chamber before you start digging so that then you can dig out the area where the chamber is to be fitted to the correct depth.
There are also unit which are free standing, but you can also opt for those buried in the soil. Remember that when you decide on the free standing type, it should be stood on a six inch thick concrete base.
When you connect the pipework to the Vortex, make sure that you use the least number of elbow (although there will definitely be more than one), so as to make the flow as smooth as possible.
Cut all the pipework for the bottom drains and lay them out in their position.
Mark all the pipes carefully where they fit into the sockets then reassemble them once you’re sure they are all in the correct position.
Connect the pipes with solvent, then to the vortex chamber.