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May 10, 2020

The organic strength of wastewater is measured in three ways: 1) as 5-day biochemical oxygen demand (BOD5), 2) chemical oxygen demand (COD), and/or 3) total organic carbon. Typically, municipal wastewater treatment plants will use BOD5 as a measure of the organic concentration into, and through, the wastewater plant. Industrial wastew...

February 11, 2019

The following is quoted from W. Wesley Eckenfelder, Jr. in his excellent textbook “Industrial Water Pollution Control”, Third Edition, 2000.

Waste Characteristics—Estimating the Organic Content

Although the interpretation of most of the waste characteristics is straightforward and definitive, special consideration must be given to the o...

November 6, 2017


In a recent post I focused on the importance and value of total kjeldahl nitrogen (TKN) testing. That post addressed the need to run the full gamut of nitrogen tests which include TKN, ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite, the sum of which equate to the total nitrogen concentration as illustrated in Figure 1. In this post I want...

November 3, 2017


After all the many years I've been working in water and wastewater treatment it's really just this past year that I have come to better appreciate the value and importance of measuring the total kjeldahl nitrogen in addition to the ammonia nitrogen concentration entering and leaving industrial biological treatment systems....

May 1, 2017

Testing Equipment for Water, Reverse Osmosis, and Wastewater

There are several "sets" of laboratory equipment that are critical for evaluating water (including reverse osmosis) and wastewater treatment systems. One set is for doing oxygen uptake rate (OUR) analysis in wastewater systems. Another set is for conducting adenosine triphosp...

December 19, 2016

Oxidation Reduction Potential (ORP)

Measuring the oxidation reduction potential (ORP) is such an easy, insightful test to perform, it’s a shame this poorly understood parameter is so underutilized. Of course, it’s that very lack of understanding that leaves ORP testing hidden away in the shadows. Though the science of ORP measurement i...

December 19, 2016

Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP)—An Introduction

I’ve stated previously (OUR Level 1 Testing) that whenever I evaluate a biological treatment system there are two sets of tests I always run:

1) Oxygen uptake rate (OUR), and

2) adenosine triphosphate (ATP) analysis.

When combined, the results of the OUR and ATP analysis provide a very complete...

October 11, 2016

Using the Crown Press: A Nice Story in Pictures

I want to give you fair warning: This page goes on forever and ever!! But it's only because there are a lot of photographs. So let's begin this long journey as I guide through the use of the benchtop Crown Press. 

The series of photographs that follow provide a step-by-step...

October 10, 2016

Benchtop Belt Filter Press

As I've discussed elsewhere in this blog, I have two key pieces of laboratory/field equipment that I use to evaluate a wastewater treatment system: 1. Oxygen uptake rate (OUR) and 2. Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) testing. And as great as these tests are, their focus is specifically on the evaluation of the bio...

September 28, 2016

Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) Testing

ATP testing is an advanced analysis for thoroughly evaluating a biological treatment system. Because this testing is not commonplace there is a lot about this analysis that is poorly understood. In this section the key terms used in ATP testing are defined.

Key ATP Terms

ATP (adenosine triphospha...

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