# PUBLISHED BY THE NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES CENTER

Basic Water and Wastewater Formulas
By Zane Satterfield, P. E., NESC Engineering Scientist

Summary

Operators obtaining or maintaining their certification must be able to calculate complex formulas and conversion factors. This Tech Brief provides basic examples of these formulas and conversion factors.

Metric Conversion Factors (Approximate) Conversions from Metric Measures
Symbol
Length

When You Know
mm cm m m km millimeters centimeters meters meters kilometers

Multiply By
0.04 0.4 3.3 1.1 0.6

inches inches feet yards miles

To Find

Symbol
in in ft yds mi

Area Mass (Weight)

cm2 m2 km2 ha g kg t ml l l l m3 m3

square centimeters square meters square kilometers hectares (10,000m2) grams kilograms tones (1,000kg) milliliters liters liters liters cubic meters cubic meters Celsius temperature

0.16 1.2 0.4 2.5 0.035 2.2 1.1 0.03 2.1 1.06 0.26 35.0 1.3 9/5 (then add 32)

square inches square yards square miles acres ounces pounds short tons fluid ounces pints quarts gallons cubic feet cubic yards Fahrenheit temperature

in2 yd2 mi2 acrs oz lbs fl oz pt qt gal ft3 yd3
0F

Volume

Temp. 0C F= (9/5)C+32

°F

-40 -40

0 -20

32 0

40 20

80

98.6 40

120 60

160 80

200

212

°F

Download all of our Tech Briefs at www.nesc.wvu.edu/ndwc/ndwc_tb_available.htm

°C

100

°C

= Volume. Winter 2008. ft Pounds. hrs (Volume. = Surface Area. gpd Area.394 inches *MGD = million gallons per day 1 kilopascal = 0. mg/L Cl2 Demand.000 mg/L 1 yd3 = 27ft3 1 kilowatt = 1. gal)(24 hrs/day) Flow.8 x ˚C) + 32 ˚C (˚F-32) (5/9) Flow.560 ft2 ac. ft2) Flow.746 kilowatts PAGE two 1 kilogram = 2.264 gal 1 HP = 0. ft Cylinder.48 gal/ft3 Reservoir Surface Area. x 7.34 lbs OF FOUR Conversion Factors 1 liter/sec = 15. ft2 In . Time. ft Length.Out In Backwash Rate. ft)2(Height.34 HP 1 HP = 550 ft-lbs/sec 1 meter = 3. V-A (Voltage. cfs Detention time. ft2 43.Area. Width. gpm) (Head. mg/L Circumference of a circle. ft) or 2(π)(Radius. ft Rise. ft2 Distance. ft 1 ft3 water = 7. ac. lbs (Flow. gpm Area. π (Diameter.85 gpm 1 acre = 43. gpm/ft2 Flow.560 ft2/ac Slope = Fall. ft) 3960 Velocity. watts Apparent Power. Width. ft/sec Water Horsepower. ft/sec) (Area. % Solution Strength. volts)(Current. ft2 Temperature Velocity. ft2 Chlorine Dose. ft x Height. ft/sec Velocity. % Weight of Chemical x 100 Weight of Solution Surface Overflow Rate.ft.1416 1 ft3 water = 62. MGD)(Conc. ft)3 6 Conversion Factors Reservoir Volume.547 cfs 1 liter = 0. ac-ft x 43. amp) Grade = Run. (Flow. ft3/sec Area. Rectangle.4 lbs 1 MGD* = 694 gpm 1 MGD = 1. Vol. ft)2 (Height. mg/L)(8. gpd (Velocity. watts Actual Power. ft x Length. HP Sphere. gpd/ft2 Flow.145 psi Tech Brief • Basic Water and Wastewater Formulas. π (Diameter. ft2 Flow.48 gal 1 gal water = 8. gpm/ft2 Filtration Rate. ft2 Circle. gpm Area. ft x Length.28 feet 1 mile = 5280 feet π (Pi) = 3.34 lbs/gal) Power Factor Power. cfs Area. ft)2 π 4 Basic Water and Wastewater Formulas Removal. sec.20 lbs 1 centimeter = 0. mg/L+Free Cl2 Residual. ft) 4 Cone. ft/sec ˚F (1.560 ft2 1 mg/L = 1 ppm 1 psi = 2. ft (Diameter. gal.31 feet of water 1% = 10. 7. ft3 Rectangle. ft) Volume. ft (π)(Diameter. π (Diameter.ft) 12 Flow. Issue 4 .

01 0.48 gallons 50.1 0. calculate the volume of a cylinder.52 x 60) = 31.000.031.000. convert minutes to hours and minutes. 100 12.5 ft3 x 7. calculate what 90% of the total volume would be 12.Powers of Ten Power of Ten 1012 109 106 103 102 10 10-1 10-2 10-3 10-6 10-9 10-12 10-15 10-18 E+12 E+09 E+06 E+03 E+02 E+01 E-01 E-02 E-03 E-06 E-09 E-12 E-15 E-18 E Notation Prefixes and symbols to form decimal multiples and/or submultiples. 8 hours and 21 minutes c.000 1.000.000.000 1.18 minutes 24 gallons minute Solution: Don’t look at the problem as a whole.000.000.000. (Diameter. 82 π. Decimal Equivalent Prefix Phonic Symbol T G M k h da d c m u n p f a 1. An empty storage tank at standard atmospheric pressure (not under pressurized condition) is 8 feet in diameter and 32 feet high. ft).031. 7 hours and 31 minutes b.000 100 10 0. Instead.5 gallons.000.000.26 ft2 4 4 4 Sixth.26 ft2 x 32 ft high = 1.16(3.828.1416)= 50. calculate time to pump at 24 gallons per minute 10. ft)2 π.001 0.000.52 hours and multiply by 60minutes/hour 7 hours and (0.48 gallons = 12. break it into steps: First.5 ft3 (cubic feet) three OF FOUR The answer is a. this is total ft3 volume tank can hold Fourth.608.50 gallons x . calculate the area of a circle 8 feet in diameter.000.39 gallons = 451.000.828. convert from ft3 (cubic feet) to gallons.001 0.5 gallons x 90%.000. 60 minutes = 1 hour 451. ft)2 π (Height.001 0. 8 hours and 23 minutes d.000.608.000.000.031. 9 hours and 17 minutes 1. 64 π.001 0.000 1.000. How long will it take to fill 90 percent of the tank volume if a pump is discharging a constant 24 gallons per minute into the tank? a.001 0.000.18 minutes = 7. just multiply by the height.001 tera giga mega kilo hecto deka deci centi milli micro nano pico femto atto ter’a ji’ga meg’a kil’o hek’to dek’a des’I sen’ti mil’I mi’kro nan’o pe’ko fem’to at’to Sample Questions 1.2 minutes 7 hours and 31 minutes PAGE Third.000.000.90 = 10. (Diameter. Second.39 gallons Fifth.52 hours 60 minutes hour Now take the . 4 since the area is already calculated.000. 7 hours and 31 minutes NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES CENTER . 1 ft3 water = 7.