Understanding the Quality of Wastewater: 4 Variables

To the average person, “wastewater” is an apt name for anything you flush down your toilet or anything that’s filtering into your drainfield after processing through your septic tank. In fact, if you asked a random homeowner what the quality of their wastewater is, they’ll likely tell you that it’s poor: after all, it’s waste and water (hence the name)!

Ask a septic professional this question, however, and you might get a different answer. Why? Because wastewater can actually be judged on its quality by a number of factors. And, through treatment processes and things like de-chlorination tablets in Bethel, OH, your wastewater might actually be fit for use once again after bio oxygenation!

Variables for quality

In the 1970s, the Environmental Protection Agency issued standards for laboratory testing when it came to analyzing wastewater and today, these standards are still being used to determine how viable wastewater is for beneficial re-use. Let’s take a look at the four main variables that are used to judge the integrity of wastewater:

  1. Organic compounds: Wastewater is analyzed for carbon-based substances that allude to the overall strength of the wastewater itself. Different tests are used to discern this, with the most valuable being the Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) test. This essential determines how much oxygen is required for microorganisms to break down effluent, to lend stability to the water. The Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD), Total Organic Carbon (TOC) and Oil and Grease (O&G) are also determined through testing.
  2. Nutrients: This measurement is going to discern how much nitrogen and phosphorus is present in wastewater, which will help analysts infer the aging process of the sample—how long the eutrophication process will take for that specific sample.
  3. Solid matter: This is the measure of un-filterable solids and those that must be broken down via oxygenation, lending themselves to the suspended accumulation within septic systems or lagoons. Testing for this will include measurements of Total Suspended Solids (TSS), Total Dissolved Solids (TDS), Total Fixed Solids (TFS) and general Total Solids (TS).
  4. Wastewater characteristics: This is simply the qualitative (and sometimes quantitative) approach to clarifying the variables of wastewater. Color, odor, pH level, temperature, turbidity and more will all be measured and used to qualify wastewater integrity.

Providing a complete picture

In quantifying and qualifying the above variables, water testing experts are able to determine the overall integrity and quality for wastewater, outside of the general conception of what wastewater is! This then allows for the exploration of further options, such as purification methods or the beneficial reuse of biosolids in Bethel, OH.

Further, in considering the entire picture of the composition of wastewater, professionals are able to dictate the best way to treat and handle it, to facilitate proper bio oxygenation and, in turn, a more beneficial process to water treatment and purification. Each variable paints a portion of the complete picture!

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