Wastewater Characteristics

Wastewater quality can be defined by physical, chemical, and biological characteristics. Physical parameters include color, odor, temperature, solids (residues), turbidity, oil, and grease. Solids can be further classified into suspended and dissolved solids (size and settleability) as well as organic (volatile) and inorganic (fixed) fractions. Chemical parameters associated with the organic content of waste-water include the biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), chemical oxygen demand (COD), total organic carbon (TOC), and total oxygen demand (TOD). BOD is a mea sure of the organics present in the water, determined by measuring the oxygen necessary to biostabilize the organ-ics (the oxygen equivalent of the biodegradable organics present). Inorganic chemical parameters include salinity, hardness, pH, acidity, alkalinity, iron, manganese, chlorides, sulfates, sulfides, heavy metals (mercury, lead, chromium, copper, and zinc), nitrogen (organic, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate), and phosphorus. Bacteriological parameters include coliforms, fecal coliforms, specific pathogens, and viruses.

Design considerations for wastewater treatment facilities are based in part on the characteristics of the waste-water; Table 7.1.5 lists some key characteristics of concern.

Table 7.1.6 shows the typical concentration range of various constituents in untreated domestic wastewater. Depending on the concentrations, wastewater is classified as strong, medium, or weak. Table 7.1.7 shows typical mineral increases resulting from domestic water use. The types and numbers of microorganisms in untreated domestic wastewater vary widely; examples of such variations are shown in Table 7.1.8.

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