Vortex drop shafts, a key hydraulic structure within modern day deep sewer conveyance systems, must be designed structurally to sustain performance and longevity of operating life under very energetic loading conditions. This has significant cost implications but to date little research has been undertaken to investigate the loading conditions with a view to optimising the shaft designs and thus lowering costs. In this study, several modelling methods were adopted to simulate hydrodynamic conditions within a vortex drop shaft to assess hydrodynamic mechanisms that impact a drop shaft liners structural performance and maintenance. A 1/10 scaled physical hydraulic model of a tangential inlet vortex drop shaft structure is tested and used to validate a three-dimensional multiphase numerical model. Collectively, the study presents methods on identifying hydrodynamic phenomena such as pressures, velocities, erosion and abrasion mechanisms, debris impact locations and blocking mechanisms. The study highlighted that the hydrodynamic forces that threaten structural integrity reside in the vortex generator and a short length of the drop shaft downstream. This is shown through a new model developed by the authors to predict centrifugal forces along the length of the drop. Through these methods, the study proposes that drop shaft liners can be designed more efficiently.