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Biological Treatment

Some of the material in the lecture slides is adapted from several textbooks and electronic resources
Hari Vuthaluru © 2008
Secondary Treatment
In an average strength wastewater the total
may be classified as being organic or inorganic in origin.

in terms of the size of solids, the distribution is approximately

30% suspended
6% colloidal
~ 66% percent dissolved solids.

The function of primary treatment is to remove

as much of the suspended solids as possible.

Primary treatment utilizes clarifiers or settling tanks which

the settleable organics and settleable inorganic solids from the

The effluent from primary treatment therefore contains

mainly colloidal and dissolved organic and inorganic solids.
Secondary Treatment
Recent effluent standards and water quality
standards demand

a greater degree of removal of organics from wastewater

than can be accomplished by primary treatment.

This additional removal of organics can be accomplished by

secondary treatment.

The secondary treatment process consists of

the biological treatment of wastewater

by utilizing many different types of microorganisms in

a controlled environment.
Flow diagram of a WWTP
Biological Treatment
The idea behind all biological methods of
wastewater treatment is to introduce contact
with bacteria (cells), which feed on the organic materials in the
wastewater, thereby reducing its BOD content.

In other words, the purpose of biological treatment is to reduce

BOD (measure of the quantity of dissolved organic pollutants that can be removed in biological oxidation
by the bacteria).

Typically, wastewater enters the treatment plant

with a BOD higher than 200 mg/L
But primary settling will reduce it to ~ 150 mg/L by the time it
enters the biological component of the system.

It needs to exit with a BOD content no higher than about 20-30

mg/L, so that after dilution in the nearby receiving water body
(river, lake), the BOD is less than 2-3 mg/L. Thus, the biological
treatment needs to accomplish a 6-fold decrease in BOD.
Biological Treatment Operations
Like all biological systems, operation takes place at
ambient temperature.
no need to heat or cool the water – savings in energy consumption.

Located outdoor as WWT operations take much space

Implying that the system must be able to operate at seasonally
varying temperatures.

Cells come in a mix of many types, and accommodation to a

temperature change is via by self adaptation of the cell population.

Similarly, a change in composition of the organic material

(due to changing activities of human beings) leads to
a spontaneous change in cell population

with the types best suited to digest the new material growing in
larger numbers than other cell types.
Biological Treatment Process
What happens in BTP?
a mixed population of microorganisms utilizes the
colloidal and dissolved organics
found in the effluent from the primary treatment as their
main food supply.

The microorganism term is used instead of microbes; they are very small
organisms size belonging to various groups: Bacteria , Fungi, Protozoa, one can
add Viruses, characterized by their noncellular structure.

In consuming these organics, the microorganisms

utilize part of the organic substances

to obtain the energy needed for their life activities.

When the oxidation of organics occurs in the presence of

dissolved oxygen the end products formed include
carbon dioxide, water, sulphates, nitrates, and
Biological Treatment Process
What happens in BTP?

The remainder part of the consumed organics are used

as building blocks in a series of synthesis
(reproduction) reactions that result
in an increased population of microorganisms.

Therefore, the colloidal and dissolved organics originally

present in the wastewater will be transformed in part
into a stable form, such as carbon dioxide, and another
part into a viable biological mass.

This biochemical reaction is active in all biological

treatment processes.
Biological Treatment Process

The biological mass must subsequently be

separated from the wastewater to ensure

a proper degree of treatment within effluent and

water quality standards.

If this biological mass is not properly removed from

the waste stream, usually by final clarification,

effluent quality will be degraded and a higher BOD

and S.S. load will be placed on the receiving waters.
Typical WWT

Adapted from Chemical Engineering, October 2005

Types of Equipment for BWWT
Broadly two types of biological wastewater treatment:

With mechanical means to create contact between wastewater,

cells and oxygen
Activated sludge

Trickling filter

Biological contactor
which is a variation on the trickling filter, with the difference being that solid material on which
slime grows is brought to the water rather than water being brought to it

Without mechanical means

The wastewater is made to flow by gravity through a specially
constructed wetland.

Compared to mechanical systems, constructed wetlands occupy far more real

estate, but they may be aesthetically pleasing, especially if they are well
integrated in the local landscape.
Biological Treatment

In the activated sludge process

the microorganisms
are dispersed throughout the water phase

while in trickling filters or biodiscs

the microorganisms are attached to a fixed
surface forming a biological film.

In both cases, the microorganisms are

doing the treatment
and therefore all precautions must be
taken to ensure a favourable environment
for their life cycle.
Biological Decomposition

Biological decomposition of waste:

Microorganisms use organics in wastewater as

food and convert them into biological cells, or

Based on the electron acceptor available, the type of

decomposition may be:

Aerobic Digestion (AD)
Function of AD
Aerobic digestion of waste is the natural biological
degradation and purification process

What happens?

bacteria that thrive in oxygen-rich environments break down

and digest the waste.

During oxidation process, pollutants are broken down into

CO2, H2O, nitrates, sulphates and biomass (microorganisms).

By operating the oxygen supply with aerators, the process

can be significantly accelerated.

Of all the biological treatment methods, aerobic digestion is

the most widespread process that is used across the globe.
Aerobic bacteria demand oxygen to
decompose dissolved pollutants.
Large amounts of pollutants require large quantities of bacteria

the demand for oxygen will be high.

The Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD) is a measure

of the quantity of
dissolved organic pollutants that can be removed in biological
oxidation by the bacteria. It is expressed in mg/l.

The Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) measures

the quantity of
dissolved organic pollutants that can be removed in chemical
oxidation, by adding strong acids. It is expressed in mg/l.

The BOD/COD gives an indication of the fraction of

pollutants in the wastewater that is biodegradable.
COD – Chemical Oxygen Demand
The COD test is used to measure the oxygen equivalent of the organic material in
wastewater that can be oxidised chemically using dichromate in an acid solution.

Unlike BOD, some portion of COD is not biodegradable, so the COD is divided into
biodegradable and non-biodegradable. The next level of interest is how much of the
COD in each of these categories is dissolved or soluble, how much is particulate,
comprised of colloidal and suspended solids. The non-biodegradable soluble COD
(nbsCOD) will be found in activated sludge effluent, and nonbiodegradable
particulates will contribute to the total sludge production.

CBOD – Carbonaceous Biochemical Oxygen Demand

When nitrification occurs, then BOD will be higher than the true value. When the
nitrification reaction is suppressed then the resulting BOD is known as the CBOD. In CBOD
test , in which the nitrification reaction is suppressed chemically, should be used only
when samples that contain small amounts of organic carbon (up to 20 percent).

TOC- Total Organic Carbon

The TOC test, done simultaneously, is used to determine the total organic carbon in
an aqueous sample.
Additional definitions
Constituent Definition

Note: b = biodegradable; i= inert; n= non; p = particulate; s = soluble
Measured constituent values, based on the terminology given in this table, will vary depending on
the techniques used to fractionate a particular constituent
Additional definitions
Additional definitions
Advantages of Aerobic Digestion
Aerobic bacteria are very efficient in breaking down
waste products.

Aerobic treatment usually yields better effluent quality

than that obtained in anaerobic processes.

The aerobic pathway also releases a substantial

amount of energy.
A portion is used by the microorganisms for synthesis and
growth of new microorganisms.
Aerobic Decomposition
The microorganisms which can only survive in aerobic
conditions are known as aerobic organisms.
A biological process, in which, organisms use available
organic matter to support biological activity.
The process uses organic matter, nutrients, and dissolved
oxygen, and produces stable solids, carbon dioxide, and
more organisms.
In sewer lines the sewage becomes anoxic if left for a
few hours and becomes anaerobic if left for more than
1 1/2 days.
Anoxic organisms work well with aerobic and anaerobic
organisms. Facultative and anoxic are basically the same

Facultative meaning survival

of bacteria with or without oxygen
Anoxic Decomposition
A biological process in which a certain group of
microorganisms use chemically combined oxygen such as that
found in nitrite and nitrate in the absence of molecular oxygen

These organisms consume organic matter to support life


They use organic matter, combined oxygen from nitrate, and

nutrients to produce nitrogen gas, carbon dioxide, stable solids and
more organisms.
Anaerobic Digestion
Anaerobic digestion
complex biochemical reaction carried out in a
number of steps by several types of
microorganisms that require little or no oxygen
to live.

During this process, a gas that is mainly composed

of methane and carbon dioxide, also referred to
as biogas, is produced.

The amount of gas produced varies with the

amount of organic waste fed to the digester and

temperature influences the rate of

decomposition and gas production.
Anaerobic Digestion
Anaerobic digestion occurs in four steps:

Hydrolysis :

Complex organic matter is

decomposed into simple soluble
organic molecules using water to
split the chemical bonds between the

Fermentation or Acidogenesis:

The chemical decomposition of

carbohydrates by enzymes, bacteria,
yeasts in the absence of oxygen.

The fermentation products are
converted into acetate, hydrogen
and carbon dioxide by what are
known as acetogenic bacteria.

Path of Anaerobic Digestion
Is formed from acetate and
hydrogen/carbon dioxide by
methanogenic bacteria.
Anaerobic Digestion (contd.)
The acetogenic bacteria grow
in close association with the methanogenic bacteria during the
fourth stage of the process.

The reason for this is that the conversion of the fermentation

products by the acetones is thermodynamically favourable

if the hydrogen concentration is kept sufficiently low.

this requires a close relationship between both classes of

The anaerobic process only takes place under

strict anaerobic conditions.
it requires specific adapted bio-solids and particular process
conditions, which are considerably different from those
needed for aerobic treatment.
Advantages of Anaerobic Digestion
Wastewater pollutants are transformed into
methane, carbon dioxide and smaller amount of
Biomass growth is much lower as opposed to aerobic
Much more compact than the aerobic bio-solids.

Anaerobic Decomposition
A biological process and decomposition of organic matter
occurs without oxygen.

Two processes occur during anaerobic decomposition.

First, facultative acid forming bacteria use organic matter as a
food source and produce volatile (organic) acids, gases such as
carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide, stable solids and more
facultative (can survive in range of conditions) organisms.

Second, anaerobic methane formers use the volatile acids (V.A.)

as a food source and produce methane gas, stable solids and
more anaerobic methane formers.

The methane gas produced by the process is usable as a fuel.

The methane former works slower than the acid former,
therefore the pH has to stay constant consistently, slightly
to optimize the creation of methane. You need to constantly feed it
with sodium bicarbonate to keep it basic.
Differences between Aerobic and Anaerobic Treatment
Anaerobic Treatment

Adapted from
Water Today, 1 August, 2011
Activated Sludge Process
Activated sludge is defined as a
suspension of microorganisms in a WW

The basic activated sludge

process consists of several
interrelated components:
The aeration tank where the biological
reactions occur.

An aeration source that provides oxygen and


A tank, known as the clarifier, where solids

settle and are separated from treated

A collecting means for the solids either to

return them to the aeration tank, (returned
activated sludge , RAS), or to remove them
from the process (waste activated sludge,
Substrate removal
Substrate removal and growth of microorganisms
are linked together

Under starved conditions in BTP’s

There will be net growth of microorganisms

Rate of substrate removal can be estimated by

rS = (-kXvS/K+S) rS= (-k/K+S)

rs – rate of substrate removal
Xv is the concentration of volatile suspended solids (VSS)
k and K are the maximum and half -velocity constants dependent on
rate constants (see chapter 4)
S is the concentration of substrate substance (usually expressed as
BOD, COD to TOC (see Table 17.1 in Droste’s textbook)

First order approximations are found to provide good correlation

results (because WWT produces low degradable substrate concentrations)
rs = -kXvS
rs = -kS
Substrate removal
Temperature dependence
Arrhenius equation is used to describe the temperature
dependence of growth rates
kT =k0θ

θ (temperature correction coefficient) varies from 1.0 to 1.8 with a typical value of 1.04
for activated sludge systems (Metcalf and Eddy, 1991)

Low temperatures (5-10oC) require

Extended detention and reduced loadings to compensate for lower
biological activity

4 to 9 ok
6.5 to 7 best


Aerobic – DO> 1.5 to 2.0 mg/L

Anoxic – DO < 0.2 mg/L (denitrification)

Anaerobic – DO << 0.1 mg/L (NO3 < 1 mg/L)

Substrate removal
Substrate usually expressed
In terms of BOD, COD or TOC (Organic matter content is typically measured as
total organic carbon and dissolved organic carbon, which are essential components of the
carbon cycle.)

Sometimes removal rates of nitrates or components are examined

that are toxic

Removal rates of non specific measures of BOD, COD and TOC will be

Organics get oxidised during BTP but there is an accumulation of by-

products of microbial growth and metabolism that are difficult to degrade

This is reflected in the following Table showing the effect of primary

sedimentation on BOD and COD to TOC ratios.
Sludge Production
Growth of microorganisms and sludge production
Sludge production is another major characteristic of the process
Removal of substrate results in
the growth of new biomass

Biomass production can be calculated using

RXp = - Yrs

where RXp is the production VSS (biomass) from substrate removal

Y is a yield factor (mass of microorganisms produced per mass of substrate
rs is the rate of substrate removal

Different decay of biomass expressions are employed as the

substrate limited conditions

Some treatment operations may not have a primary clarifier

(particularly smaller operations)
In this case there is a significant deviation from the solids production
using the above equation (why??)

Because of high input of solids concentrations

Nutrient Requirements
Nutrient requirements and sludge composition
N and P – major nutrients required for activated sludge
Nutrients present in sewage sludge, such as N, P and K, among others, are essential for plant
growth and endow sewage sludge with its fertilizing properties. Nutrient levels are key
determinants of sewage sludge application rates.

Depends on the net amount of biomass formed and removed from

the process

P is one sixth the requirement of nitrogen requirement on a mass


Rule of thumb applies to sludge processes

Ratio of influent degradable matter expressed on an ultimate BOD or

COD basis to N and P should be

COD:N:P = 100:5:1

If the nutrient concentrations are lower than above value

Chemical nutrient supplements are added (for eg. Ammonium or phosphate

salts are added to the influent)
Configurations of Activated Sludge Process

a) Complete mixed, no recycle

b) Complete mixed, biological solids recycle

Detailed process analysis, variations of

activated sludge process and other
parameters of interest with and without
recycle are covered in the textbook

Substrate concentration is measured as

c) Plug flow, biological solids recycle
Removal of Influent Suspended Matter
Effluent from primary clarifiers
Contains significant amounts of suspended organic matter

Influent suspended organic matter is removed

by two mechanisms in a BTP

Biomass metabolises some of organic solids

As far soluble organics, for the portion of suspended organics
that is metabolized, there is a fraction that is oxidised, and other
fraction is synthesised into biomass

Suspended organics are flocculated with the biomass and

settled in the secondary clarifier

Efficiency of treatment process is gauged by the total

influent COD or BOD to the soluble effluent BOD or COD
Biological Reaction Kinetics
Chemical equation for biological oxidation of
C8H12N2O 3 (casein in dairy product)+ C5H3O2N (new cells) + NH3
3O2 + 3CO2+ H2O Equation (1)

Above reaction requires bacteria to catalyze the reaction

Types of bacteria in this reaction are aerobic heterographs

(Heterograph is an organism that uses organic carbon for growth)
Heterotrophic microbes use organic carbon as energy and
carbon source for new growth
Autographic microbes use CO2 as carbon source (e.g. algae)
Aerobic microbes use oxygen as an electron acceptor
Anaerobic microbes use something other than oxygen as electron
Anoxic microbes use nitrate or nitrite reduction to N2 (denitrification)
Microbes may be obligate aerobes – able to use O2 only – or
facultative (able to exist in more one set of conditions) – able to use O2 or NO2- /NO3-
Biological Recation Kinetics
To understand electron acceptor concept,

it is helpful to break down Eq 1 into synthesis and

energy components

C8H12N2O3 (casein in dairy product)+ 3O2  C5H3O2N (new cells) +

NH3 + 3CO2+ H2O Equation (1)

Synthesis of new cells

(5/8) C8H12N2O3 + (1/8)O2  C5H7O2N + (1/4)NH3

Energy generation

(3/8) C8H12N2O3 + 3O2  3CO2 + (3/4)NH3 + (9/8)H2O

Biological Recation Kinetics
Disassemble into half reactions to highlight electron
donors and acceptors
(5/8) C H N O + (65/8)H O  5CO + (10/8)NH +
(donor) 8 12 2 3 2 2 3

2OH+ +20e-
5CO2 + NH3 + 2OH+ +20e-  C5H7O2N + 8H2O (acceptor)

(3/8) C8H12N2O3 + (39/8)H2O  3CO2 + 8NH3 (donor)

3O2 + 12H+ +12e-  6H2O (acceptor)

These equations can be normalized such that there is a single electron

on right hand side of each equation

(1/20) C8H12N2O3 + (2/5)H2O  (1/4)CO2 + (1/20)NH3 + H+ + e- (cells)

3O2 + 12H+ +12e-  6H2O (donor)
(1/2)H2O  (1/4) O2 + H+ + e- (acceptor)
Biological Reaction Kinetics
This reorganization of the equations
illustrates that :

Energy is required to create new cells

Energy is created in the electron donor to electron acceptor


C8H12N2O3 acts as an electron donor (there are many

others as well)

O2 acts as an electron acceptor

Other anaerobic electron acceptors are:

NO3 denitrification, Fe and SO4 (decreasing energy)
Biological Recation Kinetics

Difference in
energy production
associated with
different electron
acceptors is
illustrated by
reactions of
Aerobic oxidation is
the most favorable

Denitrification close

Others very inferior

in terms of free
energy produced
Baterial Growth
Part of biological oxidation goes
to bacterial growth

Bacterial growth requires

Carbon source to form cellular material
Energy source to fuel cell synthesis
Nutrient source to form cell material

Bacteria grow rapidly

Bacteria reproduce in <20 min to several days
Bacteria growing at high rates sooner or later outgrow
available resources
Baterial Growth
In batch cultures (fixed quantity of biodegradable organics and
nutrients with no inflow) growth looks like

By plotting the log of viable cell concentration, X,

with time, five distinct phases of the growth curve can
be identified. They are:

1) the lag phase which occurs immediately after

inoculation and persists until the cells have
acclimated to their new environment;
2) exponential growth phase, during which time cell
growth proceeds at an exponential rate;
3) a deceleration phase, when essential nutrients are
depleted or toxic products begin to accumulate
4) a stationary phase during which time the net cell
growth is approximately zero, and
5) death phase where some cells loose viability or are
destroyed by lysis .

Biological wastewater treatment depends on balance

between substrate and biomass – ideally, biological
reactor will operate in stationary growth.
Baterial Growth
Need to understand

How much substrate yields?

How much biomass?
How quickly substrate is used?
Biomass yield = (mass biomass produced/mass substrate

One can determine yield

from measurements (method

Organic matter in waste is measured as BOD or COD

Biomass is taken to be VSS – volatile suspended solids
Recap of Definitions
TSS – total suspended solids
Mass of solids captured on 1.58 µm glass fiber filter

VSS – volatile suspended solids

Mass of solids burned off at 500oC (shows the amount of organic matter in wastewater)

FSS – fixed suspended solids

Residual after ignition (TSS-VSS)

TS – total solids
Mass of residue after evaporation and drying at 104oC

TDS – total dissolved solids

Mass of solids that pass through filter and remain after drying
at 104oC

Biological Yield
Method B – can determine yield from
e.g.  glucose to cells
3C H O + 8O +2NH  2C5H NO +
MW: 6 12 6 2 3 7 2
8CO + 14H O
2 2 3(180) 8(32) 2(17) 2(113)
Yield in terms of glucose (Y)
2 moles (113 g/mol)/3 moles (180g/mol)
0.42 g cells per glucose
COD is chemical Oxygen Demand

Amount of oxygen needed to fully oxidize the substrate

For glucose
C6H12O6+ 6O2  6CO2+ 6H2O
6 mol. 32 g. mol-1/1 mol. 180 gmol-1
1.O7 g COD/g glucose
Yield for COD
Y = (2 moles. 113 g/mol)/(3 mol glucose. 180 gmol-1 glucose. 1.07 g
O 2 per g glucose)
0.39 g cells per g COD
Actual yields are less since cells use some substrate for energy to
maintain cell
Biological Yield
Method C – can determine yield from
Compute Gibbs free energy for synthesis (cell
production) and energy generation components
of reaction

This yields equation for mole of substrate generated per

mole substrate used
(see Metcalf and Eddy for further details)

Method A is best
Requires field, pilot or lab installation

Methods B and C provide theoretical context

Predictive ability only
Oxygen Requirement
For design also need to know O2 requirement

3C6H12O6+ 8O2 +2NH3  2C5H7NO2+ 8CO2+ 14H2O

Oxygen used per mole of glucose
(8 x 32)/(3x180) = 0.474 g Oxygen per g of glucose
Oxygen used per COD
(0.474 g O2/g glucose)/(1.07 g COD per g glucose)
0.44 g O2 per g COD used
Why is this not 1.0 g oxygen per COD used?
Difference is in COD represented by cells
COD of cells is:
C5H7NO2+ 5O2  5CO2+ NH3+
2H2O g COD per g cell
5 (32)/113 = 1.42 g COD per g cell
Cell yield showed Y
0.42 g cells per g glucose
0.42 g cells per g glucose x (1.42 g COD per g cells)/(1.07 g COD per
g glucose)
Of 1 g COD entering as glucose, 0.56 goes into providing COD
as cells and 0.44 is oxidised by O2
COD or Chemical Oxygen Demand
is the total measurement of all chemicals in the water that can
be oxidized. benzene, toluene, phenol, etc.) which are not
completely oxidized in the reaction.
COD is a chemically chelated / thermal oxidation reaction, and
therefore, other reduced substances such as sulphides,
sulphites, and ferrous iron will also be oxidized and reported
as COD. NH3-N (ammonia) will NOT be oxidized as COD.

TOC or Total Organic Carbon

is the measurement of organic carbons. Organic matter content
is typically measured as total organic carbon and dissolved
organic carbon, which are essential components of the carbon
cycle. The Total Organic Carbon test measures all organic
carbon as CO2. Therefore, all inorganic CO2, HCO3-, etc. must be
removed prior to the analysis.

BOD- Biochemical Oxygen Demand

is supposed to measure the amount of food (or organic

carbons) that bacteria can oxidize.

Oxygen Requirement
Waste is often expressed as BOD –
Biological or Biochemical Oxygen Demand

BOD captures three processes

Oxidation to produce energy
Waste + O2 bacteria CO2 + H2O + NH3 + other end
products + energy

Cell synthesis
Waste + O2 + energy bacteria C6H7NO2

Endogenous respiration (cells use own biomass to get

energy for cell maintenance)
C6H7NO2 + 5O2  5CO2 + NH3 + 2H2O
BOD is measured in a standard bottle test:
Ground stopper
seal to create air-
tight seal

Glass BOD bottle

Wastewater plus bacteria is placed in bottle

Dissolved oxygen (DO) concentration is measured
Bottle is sealed and incubated for t days
DO is measured at the end of t days
Traditionally after 5 days – BOD5
Sometimes 20 days – BOD20 (used when BOD5 is too low to
measure or for waste degrading slowly)
Occasionally very long – 100 + days (used for paper mill
wastewater, other ww’s with very slowly degrading wastes)
Known as long-term BOD tests
BODu or ultimate BOD or UBOD BODu

Oxygen Requirement
BOD curve versus t follows first order reaction
BODt = BODu (1 – e –k1t)
Where k1 is the deoxygenation coefficient

As BOD is consumed (biodegraded) in bottle, DO is

also consumed
For long tests bottle needs to be re-aerated (measuring DO before
and after) occasionally NBOD

To prevent creation of anaerobic conditions BODu

Actual BOD test is not as simple as shown
Real BOD tests like this

NBOD represents oxygen demand by nitrifying

bacteria converting ammonia to nitrate
2NH4+ + 3 O2  2NO2- + 4 H+ + 2H2O
2NO2+ + O2  2NO3-
BOD related to chemical oxidation is called NBOD.
The source materials for NBOD include organic matter that decays
to ammonia, and ammonia entering the San Joaquin River through
wastewater and stormwater systems.
BOD related to micro-organism is called CBOD.
The source material for CBOD is organic matter. CBOD results when oxygen
is consumed by micro-organisms in converting organic material into CO2,
H2O, nutrients, energy, and new cells
Oxygen Requirement
NBOD can be determined stoichiometrically from net nitrification
NH4+ + 2O2  2NO3- + 2 H+ + H2O
1 gm NH4 consumes 4.57 gm oxygen
NBOD can be suppressed by
nitrification inhibitors added to BOD bottle at start of test

SOD *(Sediment Oxygen Demand) is the overall demand for DO from

the water column that is exerted by the combination of biological,
biochemical, and chemical processes at the sediment-water interface.
Oxygen consumption of wet soils.

The measurements are similar to BOD but measured over 24 hour period
as compared to 5 hours

The primary sources of SOD are

anaerobic (low-oxygen) chemical compounds in the riverbed sediments and particulate BOD
(including algae and other sources of organic matter) that settle out of the water column.

SOD is generally composed of biological respiration from benthic organisms and the
biochemical (i.e., bacterial) decay processes in the top layer of deposited sediments,
together with the release of oxygen- demanding (i.e., reduced) anaerobic chemicals, such as
iron, manganese, sulphide, and ammonia.

These soluble chemicals are released into the water and exert a relatively rapid (i.e., it occurs
on a timescale of hours) oxygen demand as the reduced chemicals are oxidized.
Some oxidation processes, such as nitrification of ammonia to nitrate, require bacteria and may be slower
(i.e., days).
How do BOD and COD relate?
COD is measured by chemical test
Dichromate Cr2O72- (a strong oxidant) is
added Reacted with organics
Leftover dichromate measured by titration
By subtraction, dichromate used to oxidize is computed
and converted to equivalent O2

COD and BOD are fundamentally different:

COD is defined chemical quantity
BOD is a bioassay
Not necessarily correlated
For untreated municipal wastewater
BOD/COD = 2/3 is often assumed

BOD make-up
Proteins (amino acids) – 40 to 60%
Carbohydrates (starch, sugar, cellulose) – 25 to 50%
Lipids (fats, oil, grease) – 10%
Typical BOD values
mg/L mg/L mg/L

Municipal WW

Untreated 450 200 220 0.3 - 0.8

Primary treatment 250 130 0.4 – 0.6

Secondary 50 30 40 0.1 – 0.3


Combined sewer 370 170 290


Source: USEPA, 1997 Technical Gudiance Manual for Developing Total Maximum
Daily Loads, Book 2: Streams and Rivers, Part 1: Biochemical Oxygen Demand /
Dissolved Oxygen and Nutrients / Eutrophication. Report No. EPA-823-B-97-002
Total BOD Components
Design Parameters for Activated Sludge Processes

Ranges shown in the Table are suitable for a wide range of wastewaters but
some Industrial WW’s require longer HRT’s

SRT – sludge age or sludge aeration time refers to the average amount of time
the sludge spends in the aerator
HRT analogous to SRT refers to the average residence time of a particle of water in
the aeration basin
Design of Activated Sludge Processes for N and P removal

These processes more

complex than activated
sludge systems designed to
remove carbonaceous BOD.

They incorporate
sequences that favour the
growth and metabolism of
organisms responsible for
nitrogen removal and
phosphorus uptake
Design of Activated Sludge Processes for N and P removal

In the A/O process process the

reactor is compartmentalised
into a number of equal sized
anaerobic and aerobic stages.

Each compartment is CM but the

partitioning promotes PF.

A/O process directly applies the

principle of an anaerobic phase
followed by an aerobic phase.
Trickling Filters
Trickling Filters (Attached Culture System):

Function: Biological oxidation of organic matter present in settled

wastewater (in solution or as suspended matter) by bringing it in
contact with biological agents developed on the surface of a contact

Trickling filter is not 'filter'. It is a biological contact bed.

It is a filter-like structure with contact media on the surface of

which biological agents form slimes. It has a system to apply the
settled wastewater to come into contact with the biological slimes.
The organisms in the slime use organics in wastewater as food and
convert them into biological cells. The effluent is collected by an
underdrainage system for further treatment in a secondary settling

The trickling filter is usually circular, and the contact medium

consists of crushed stones (50-75 mm) or synthetic media. The
settled wastewater is applied on the surface of media by rotating
Trickling Filters
The pore space, the method of distribution of wastewater, the natural
ventilation due to the temperature differential between wastewater
and ambient temperatures, and the partial-flow conditions in the
under drainage system facilitate the air circulation and hence
maintenance of aerobic conditions in the trickling filter.

As the wastewater trickles down, the microorganisms grow into a

slime over the surface of the contact media.
The development of the slime is gradual over a period of several weeks (ripening
period). The microorganisms in the slime feed on the organic matter in the
wastewater trickling over them.

Over the time, excess slimes and also dead slimes from the media are flushed out
along with the effluent. This discharge of slime, known as sloughing, is influenced by
the hydraulic and organic loading rates.

The suspended solids content in the filter effluent will, therefore, be very high and
needs to be removed by passing it through a secondary settling basin.

Recirculation- Returning a portion of the effluent to the inflow to

filter is known as 'recirculation'.
Recirculation dilutes the influent to the trickling filter and provides a seeding
with active microorganisms.
It helps to dampen variations in flow and in maintain a desirable hydraulic loading.
It reduces clogging of contact media and minimizes the problem of psychoda fly
Trickling Filters
Loading of Trickling Filters:
Organic or BOD loading: expressed as kg of BOD per day per m3 of contact media volume,

BOD loading = {wastewater flow rate, Q * BOD of settled

wastewater}/Volume of filter media
NOTE: BOD of settled wastewater = 65-70% of BOD of raw wastewater

Hydraulic loading: expressed as m3 of wastewater applied per day

per m2 of surface area of trickling filter

Hydraulic loading = {wastewater flow rate, Q + Recirculation flow rate,

QR}/Surface area of filter

Recirculation ratio = QR/Q

Typical loadings:
Low-rate trickling filters: BOD loading = 0.25 kg/m3.d ;
Hydraulic loading = 2-5 m3/m2.d ; Recirculation ratio = 0

High-rate trickling filters: BOD loading = 0.75 kg/m3.d ; Hydraulic

loading = 10-30 m 3/m2.d ; Recirculation ratio = 0.5-3.0
Flow diagrams for Trickling Filters with Recirculation Configurations.
Flow diagrams for Trickling Filters with Recirculation Configurations.
Anaerobic WWT

Schematic reaction steps

In anaerobic WWT
Anaerobic WWT
This is also a biological treatment process

Bears many similarities to aerobic


Chapter 18 discusses the concepts of

anaerobic treatment in light of previous
address of aerobic treatment

By presenting the distinguishing features of anaerobic

treatment process