Rotary drum screen

Rotary drum screen

A key to successful wastewater filtration

What is a rotary drum filter?

The rotary drum screen, or rotary sifter, is part of the equipment usually found in municipal and industrial water treatment processes. This is the second pre-treatment process used in wastewater treatment plants after screening. It is generally placed upstream of the system, i.e. at the discharge of the pumping station which is in charge of collecting the wastewater.

In addition, the sifter can collect mechanically fine and coarse debris such as trash rack debris (RAG), thick sands or grease…

This way, the waste will not be mixed with mud and will not interfere with the downstream process.

How does it work?

The purpose of the rotary drum screen is to sort out various fine and coarse matters. The water first flows into a container and is poured onto a circular drum screen. Raw water mixed with debris will then pass through the drum screen gravitationally to be sifted.

Through its slow rotation, the debris is trapped on the surface of the drum screen. This will eliminate any build up and clogging of the sifters. This waste will be then drained and scraped off the surface of the screen by an outer scraper mounted on a ressort system

All the waste will fall into a hopper, garbage can or dumpster and will be discharged to the outside later. Finally, the drum screen is cleaned with high or medium-pressure water after being scraped.

Fine separation with the sifter

The rotary drum screen ensures a fine screening based on the selected mesh size. These sizes range from 0.25 mm to 2.5 mm and the most common are 1 mm.

In addition, there are two types of rotary drum screens commonly used:

  • with triangular wire
  • with perforated metal sheet

Besides, triangular wire drum screens offer three benefits :

  • best transition coefficient
  • Its shape allows the finest particles to slide inside without blocking the slots.
  • No rough side, instead of the flat plate, which has a rough side because of its manufacturing process.
With its triangular wire and outer feed, the 1h2o3 rotary drum screens are efficient in processing rough waste and greasy effluent.

Benefits of the rotary drum screen

Basically, all rotary drum screens have similar features:

  • Compactness: rotary drum screens have a small footprint
  • Low maintenance: Rotary drum screens require low maintenance. You should check that the drum screen runs perfectly, is well scraped, and that the spouts are not clogged, and you should grease the bearing.
  • Easy to operate: the sifters work automatically through their self-cleaning system. When the pumps in the elevation station begin to work, the drum screen also begins to work.
  • Sorting: a rotary drum screen ensures solid/liquid separation. The finer the mesh, the more effective the separation. a fine sifter is used to collect rejects from the screenings separately. Therefore, it does not end up in the mud.
  • Securing the downstream process: removing coarse waste at the head of the treatment process secures the entire process: clogging of pumps, solenoid valve lockouts, build-up of sand in the basins, etc.

The various application areas

Sifters are widely used in many activities:

  • Wastewater pretreatment for municipal and industrial wastewater
  • Storm overflow collection
  • Wastewater treatment with high content of solids including fibers, wool, feathers and films.
  • Effluents from paper mills
  • Textile industry like dyeing, bleaching, etc…
  • Chemical and pharmaceutical industry

Rotary drum screens are highly recommended for any fixed culture process such as MBBR.

  • Solid/liquid separation for the food industry:
    • meat processing factories
    • slaughterhouses
    • dairies
    • fast food
    • Viticultural and vinicultural effluents,
    • fish industry
    • potato processing
    • canning factories
    • animal feeding

Rotary drum screen VS rotary screen

In fact, it’s almost the same thing. We use the expression ” rotary screen ” when it comes to the separation of solids and liquids. The word rotary screen is used to describe equipment that separates solids from solids, such as composting equipment.

Focus: The rotary drum screen for wastewater treatment

The rotary drum screen is suitable for special applications requiring fine screening. Among them, there is the wastewater treatment which uses the drum screen as the first step of the pre-treatment before the primary treatment or flotation. Screening wastewater treatment plant effluent is very important. On the one hand, it allows to sort out a certain amount of debris to avoid having large waste in the mud. In addition, it protects the downstream process, i.e. the entire wastewater treatment plant. Moreover, with a drum screen, you will have no more pump clogging and much less filthy crusting on the primary clarifier. It is therefore an essential step, especially if the downstream processes use filters for example.

Pre-treatment: screening or sifting?

Sifting and screening are both wastewater pretreatment processes with their own characteristics.


Screening is one of the important steps in wastewater treatment to remove large waste from wastewater. Indeed, the screening involves:

  • to separate large materials that could interfere with the effectiveness of subsequent treatments
  • protect the structures at the beginning of the plant from damage that can be caused by large objects in the wastewater flow

Screeners are very frequently installed on wastewater treatment plants.


Sifting, meanwhile, ensures a finer solid/liquid separation. While most screeners have a mesh size of 6 to 20 mm, sifters have a mesh size of about 1 mm. The finer the drum screen, the more particles it will remove from the wastewater.

Sifters are usually placed at the head of small treatment plants. The screeners racks of the pumping stations upstream on the network act as coarse screeners.

The carbon load removed by a sifter is about 5%.

Screening and rotary drum screen

This is the perfect combination that is often found on very large wastewater treatment plants. A coarse screener protects the pumps at the pumping station and then a sifter refines the filtration at the discharge.

How to design a rotary drum screen?

The design of a rotary drum screen is based on several parameters:

  • The peak flow rate: the higher the flow rate, the larger the drum must be
  • Desired filtration mesh: 250 µ, 500 µ, 750 µ, 1 mm, 1.5 mm, 2 mm, 2.5 mm. The larger the opening, the larger the flow rate
  • The type of application where it will be used: urban effluents are quite similar and contain little grease. Agri-food effluents are different.
  • Water salinity (g/l salt): important for the choice of materials

With these criteria, we can determine the required drum screen surface (m²) and the suitable model.

1h2o3 rotary drum screen concept

Technical description of the sifting machines

The sifter is a necessary equipment to protect your downstream process. It removes all rough waste above the selected mesh size. Also, it allows to separate some of the grease and sand. Separate waste collection greatly improves the quality of the mud. Their valorization or spreading is then easier.

All our sifters are made of :

  • A stainless steel frame
  • A stainless steel triangular wire drum
  • Stainless steel bearings
  • A hopper to prevent splashing
  • A small engine training system
  • A backwash ramp powered by a solenoid valve
  • An inner distributor box with integrated by-pass

Specific advantages of 1h2o3 drum screens

Our rotary drum screens stand out through :

    • their medium pressure operation: only 3 bars (drinking water network pressure) are needed to feed the cleaning nozzle, while other drum screen technologies require an intermediate pressure pump to reach 6 to 8 bars
    • the sturdy concept of the triangular wire drum: stainless steel, anti-clogging shape and good passage coefficient. The drum screen is carried by stainless steel bearings with indirect drive. The frame itself is made of stainless steel.
    • the built-in distribution boxinside the drum screen, which allows the fluid to be distributed over the entire surface
    • with wear-resistant scraper and constant pressure on the drum
    • With the possibility to associateour drum screens with sand removal, oil removal, buffer tanks or all 3 combined.
    • For the reuse of treated water at the outlet of the plant when the rotary drum screen is used together with a 1h2o3 lamella clarifier offering the “industrial water” option
    • Internal bypass: in case of high flow, part of the flow goes directly behind the drum. Hence, there is no need to add an additional bypass line
    • Their economical function: a small engine running when the pumping station starts and water coming either from the network or from the industrial water reserve of the lamella clarifier.
    • The non-spill hood that is fitted to every screen we manufacture

Used rotary drum screen

Sometimes we have used rotary drum screen for sale. For more information, please contact us!

Why should I rent a rotary drum screen?

Renting a rotary drum screen may be a very good idea to test its efficiency on your process. We offer rent-to-own, so before you invest in any significant civil engineering work, test the pretreatment of your effluent by sifting.

We invite you to contact us to learn more!

Combining other processes 1h2o3 with a sifter

Grit removal

As the name implies, the grit removal unit is used to remove sand.

Indeed, the sifters remove some of the sand but this is not their primary function. When effluents are loaded with sand (e.g. potato washing), it is recommended to combine the rotary screen with a grit removal system. It will collect sand that is finer than the mesh size of the drum screen.

Therefore, these sands will not end up downstream of the industry. Fine sand may gather in some structures or block small solenoid valves.

This is why it is preferable to recover it in the pretreatments. Did you know that when cleaned, this sand can be recycled?

Oil Remover

The purpose of the oil remover is to separate liquids from light greasy substances contained in the wastewater.

Some effluents, such as in the food industry, are loaded with oil and grease. The sifter will remove the larger blocks but some of the oil will pass through. In this case, we recommend using the rotary drum screen together with hot water for the nozzles.

After the sifter, an oil remover is strongly recommended to trap residual oil and grease.

Buffer tank

The buffer tank is used to store and smooth the pumped effluent obtained after sifting.

With the buffer tank, it is possible to smooth the flow over the day and thus avoid hydraulic and organic overloads. It offers several advantages:

  • Biological treatment can be more compact
  • Installed power for ventilation is reduced.

MBBR biological treatment

Any MBBR process must be protected by a rotary drum screen. The accumulation of fillings in the biological ponds is undesirable. In addition, they will disrupt treatment over the long term.

The MBBR biological treatment is efficient in removing COD, BOD5 and NH4. To ensure this performance over time, a sifter should be placed at the top.

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