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What is Wastewater?
Wastewater is any water that has been
adversely affected in quality by any
anthropogenic influence. It includes
liquid waste discharged from domestic
houses, industrial, agricultural or
commercial processes. It does not
include rain-water uncontaminated by
human activities.
Types of Wastewater
Organic - bio-degradable

Organic - non bio-degradable

Types of Wastewater

Surface Run-offs
Highway drainage
Storm drains

Industrial site drainage

Black water
Types of Wastewater
Domestic Drainage
Cesspit leakage

Septic discharge

Sewage treatment plant discharge

Grey water (water from household

Characteristics of Wastewater

Physical Chemical Biological

Temperature pH BOD
Color DO Bacteria
Odor COD Viruses
Solids Nutrients Parasites
Toxic chemicals
Physical Characteristics

Temperature affects Solids

Settling rate Dissolved
Dissolved oxygen Suspended
Biological action Settleable
Color Organic
Gray: with DO inorganic
Black: little or no DO

Chemical Characteristics
pH Nutrients
pH< 7 is acidic Nitrogen
pH > 7 is alkaline Phosphorous

Dissolved Oxygen Toxic

Aerobic: with DO substances
Anaerobic: w/o DO

Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) amount of

oxygen needed to chemically oxidize the organic solids
Biological Characteristics



Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD)

amount of oxygen used by bacteria
and other organisms as they feed
upon organic solids in wastewater
Effects of Water Pollutants
Effect of TSS
Increases turbidity:
Less light - reduced photosynthesis
Causes fish's gills to get plugged up
Increases silting:
Reduces lifetime of lakes
Changes benthic (bottom) ecology
Effects of Water Pollutants
Effect of pH
Organisms are very susceptible to acids and
Recommended to have near neutral
conditions (6.0 9.0)

Effects of Phosphorous and Nitrogen

Increases algal photosynthesis
Increased plant life on surface water
Reduces light in lower levels
Effects of Water Pollutants
Additional Effects of Nitrogen
Organic nitrogen and ammonia are
converted to nitrates in water
Nitrates are converted to nitrites in digestive
Nitrites are assimilated into blood stream
where they are converted by respired oxygen
to nitrates
May cause suffocation (blue baby syndrome)
Effects of Water Pollutants
Effect of BOD
Depletes dissolved oxygen from streams,
lakes and oceans
May cause death of aerobic organisms (fish
kills, etc.)
Increases anaerobic properties of water

Effect of Pathogens
May infect:

o Natural eutrophication is the process

by which lakes gradually age and
become more productive.

o Cultural or anthropogenic
"eutrophication" is water pollution
caused by excessive plant nutrients.
Causes of

o Natural run-off of nutrients from the soil

and the weathering of rocks
o Run-off of inorganic fertilizer (containing
nitrates and phosphates)
o run-off of manure from farms (containing
nitrates, phosphates and ammonia)
Causes of

o Run-off from erosion (following mining,

construction work or poor land use)
o Discharge of detergents (containing
o Discharge of partially treated or untreated
sewage (containing nitrates and
Effects of Eutrophication

o Increase in plant and animal biomass

o Increase in growth of rooted plants

o Increased vegetation may impede water

flow and the movement of boats
o When plants and algae die their
remains gradually sink and are
consumed by aerobic bacteria.
Effects of Eutrophication

o Increase in rate of sedimentation

o Reduction of the level of dissolved
o Eventually, often near the bottom of a
lake, virtually no oxygen remains and
the water is said to be anoxic.
Consequences of Anoxic Condition
o Anaerobic bacteria flourish
o Anaerobic bacteria often produce foul-
smelling compounds such as
hydrogen sulphide (H2S)

ammonia (NH3)

o Water becoming extremely unpleasant

Effects of Eutrophication

o Decrease in species diversity

o Change in dominant biota (e.g. carp
replace trout and blue-green algae
replace normal algae)
Effects of Eutrophication

o The water may become unsuitable for

drinking even after treatment
o Decrease in the amenity value of the
o Disappearance of commercially
important species (such as trout)
Lake w/o Eutrophication

Lake w/ Eutrophication
What can be done to remediate

o Limiting your fertilizer use

o Controlling runoff and soil erosion in your
own yard
o Starting a compost pile and recycling yard
o Conserving water and energy
o Planting trees
o Maintaining your septic system
o Driving less