Vortex Settling Chambers:
These chambers are open to be seen and are best made of cement block and coated or Fiberglass tanks. I like fiberglass because it can be repaired or reconfigured any way one chooses. The settling chamber works best as a gravity fed system. Never pump water to settling chambers, when waste is pumped, it is emulsified, making separation thousands of times more problematic. This chamber is for removing large solids and debris coming from the bottom drain. The water enters this chamber tangentially mid tank above the cone allowing for the heavier particles to sink to the bottom and the clean water to rise to the top and move on to the Bio-Chamber. Vortex chambers should be as large as possible. I recommend at least 48 inches in diameter by 66 inches deep with a conical shaped bottom. A tank like this holds 450 gallons. The benefit of the open design is you can see the waste and when cleaning is needed. With recommended flow rates a chamber like this will be over 95% effective removing solids.
Note: I like to make these chambers with a 10 inch flat at the bottom of the cone for ease of cleaning. By having this flat and using a pump to clean, I save hundreds of dollars on pluming and labor digging a drain.
Cleaning Vortex Settling Chambers:
Shut off in coming water and then position a submersible pump ¾ down, pump out clean water to pond. Next set pump on flat bottom and pump water back on the waste to mix completely. Now pump waste water to plants or discard. Open valve allowing pond water to flush out drain and pluming, when water runs clean, shut off valve. Pump waste water to plants or discard, your chamber is now clean, open valve. You have just cleaned this open top vortex settling chamber with a small amount of water and you can see it’s clean.