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Method development for measuring biodegradable organic carbon in reclaimed and treated wastewaters

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Analyses that measure oxygen demand, such as biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) and chemical oxygen demand (COD) analyses, have long been used as indicators of contamination and wastewater treatment plant efficiency. They measure the tendency of pollutants to react with oxygen, which is generally a good indicator of the stability or level of treatment. Both parameters include reactions with organic as well as inorganic substances and suffer from a lack of precision and accuracy at low concentrations, which are becoming increasingly more important. Biodegradable dissolved organic carbon (BDOC) analysis is a relatively new procedure that has advantages over both BOD and COD analyses, including insensitivity to inorganic oxidations. A modified BDOC procedure was developed to characterize the performance of advanced treatment methods, such as those used in municipal water reclamation and secondary-treated wastewaters, where moderately low dissolved organic carbon concentrations (4 to 15 mg/L) are routinely encountered. The development of the modified BDOC procedure was based on a combination of the existing batch BDOC protocol and BOD techniques. Various aspects and incubation conditions were investigated to finalize the procedure. Nitrification does not interfere with the procedure. It is possible to simultaneously determine the soluble BOD (SBOD) under certain conditions. The procedure has reduced variability and increased precision as compared to BOD and COD analyses.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 1998-07-01

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  • Water Environment Research (WER) is published monthly, including an annual Literature Review. A subscription to WER includes access to the latest content back to 1992, as well as access to fast track articles. An individual subscription is valid for 12 months from month of purchase.

    Water Environment Research (WER) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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