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Comparison of Parameters Characterizing Organic Matter in a Combined Sewer During Rainfall Events and Dry Weather

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To understand the effect of combined sewer overflows on the river Seine (France), a characterization of effluent in terms of organic matter and bacterial biomass was carried out during several sampling campaigns performed in a combined sewer located in Parisian suburbs under wet and dry weather conditions. Measurements classically used to study wastewater (suspended matter, chemical oxygen demand [COD] and biochemical oxygen demand [BOD]) were compared with the estimate of biodegradable and refractory fractions of particulate and dissolved organic carbon. Relationships among different parameters used to describe organic material in effluent were established. Even for large fluctuations in organic matter concentrations, highly homogeneous ratios between the different descriptors during wet and dry weather were observed, and no significant differences could be observed in two catchments strongly differing by their sizes. The only two small differences in relative composition that could be observed between dry and wet weather were slightly lower content of organic carbon in suspended solids and a lower biodegradability of this material during rain events. Accordingly, with the help of obtained relationships and values of classical variables like turbidity, BOD, and COD for a given effluent, it is possible to make reasonably accurate estimates of its composition in terms of biodegradable and refractory fractions of dissolved and particulate organic matter and bacterial biomass.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: July 1, 1999

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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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