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Biodegradable dissolved organic carbon for indicating wastewater reclamation plant performance and treated wastewater quality

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Various methods for measuring biodegradable dissolved organic carbon (BDOC) in water have been introduced in the last decade. Applications of the methods have been limited to drinking water. The measure of BDOC has been used mainly to indicate the quality of raw and finished waters and evaluate the performance of biological activated carbon (ozone/granular activated carbon) systems in water treatment plants. Recently, a modified BDOC protocol was developed for examining reclaimed and secondary-treated wastewaters. Use of the new BDOC method can be extended to the wastewater treatment and reclamation fields. Samples collected from a wastewater reuse pilot facility were tested for BDOC. The modified BDOC method was able to detect the increase in biodegradability of ozonated tertiary-treated wastewater. Good relationships among BDOC, dissolved organic carbon (DOC), and soluble biochemical oxygen demand were obtained. The modified protocol was later used to measure BDOC in secondary-effluent samples from 13 municipal wastewater treatment plants. The results show that BDOC can also be used as an indicator of secondary-effluent quality. Likewise, strong and significant correlations were found among BDOC, DOC, and soluble chemical oxygen demand in secondary effluents.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 1998-07-01

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  • 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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