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Analyzing the Uncorrected Error of Dilution Water Demand for the Dilution Biochemical Oxygen Demand Method

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Dilution water demand (DWD) can cause a positive error when the dilution biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) method is used. Dilution water demand may be attributed to oxidation of organic impurities in the dilution water and nitrification of ammonia added as a nutrient. To minimize the error associated with these sources, the standard BOD method requires that DWD be less than 0.2 mg/L in 5 days and does not allow correction for DWD when calculating test results. This study derives a set of theoretical equations to analyze the uncorrected errors with and without seeding. The authors concluded that DWD can be completely corrected if seeded dilution water is used for the sample dilution. When seeding individual bottles, the uncorrected error approaches 8.3 to approximately 8.8% at a 5-day depletion of 2 mg/L for a typical secondary effluent. Tests without seeding show an almost 1% higher uncorrected error than seeded tests. The analysis also suggests that these errors can be effectively reduced to less than 3% when the 5-day depletion approaches 6 mg/L, even for 5-day biochemical oxygen demand concentrations exceeding 1 × 104 mg/L. Further analysis indicates that, if not inhibited, the ammonium added to dilution water as a nutrient may contribute additional error due to nitrification.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2004-05-01

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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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