Use of COD, TOC, and Fluorescence Spectroscopy to Estimate BOD in Wastewater

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Common to all National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits in the United States is a limit on biochemical oxygen demand (BOD). Chemical oxygen demand (COD), total organic carbon (TOC), and fluorescence spectroscopy are also capable of quantifying organic content, although the mechanisms of quantification and the organic fractions targeted differ for each test. This study explores correlations between BOD5 and these alternate test procedures using facility influent, primary effluent, and facility effluent samples from a full-scale water resource recovery facility. Relative reductions of the water quality parameters proved to be strong indicators of their suitability as surrogates for BOD5. Suitable correlations were generally limited to the combined datasets for the three sampling locations or the facility effluent alone. COD exhibited relatively strong linear correlations with BOD5 when considering the three sample points (r = 0.985) and the facility effluent alone (r = 0.914), while TOC exhibited a suitable linear correlation with BOD5 in the facility effluent (r = 0.902). Exponential regressions proved to be useful for estimating BOD5 based on TOC or fluorescence (r > 0.95).

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