Wastewater: Municipal

Authored by: Sven Erik Jørgensen

Encyclopedia of Environmental Management

Print publication date:  December  2012
Online publication date:  December  2012

Print ISBN: 9781439829271
eBook ISBN: 9781351235860
Adobe ISBN:


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The composition of municipal wastewater varies very little geographically. An average composition encompassing all major components can therefore be indicated. A number of available treatment methods can be combined to reduce the concentrations in municipal wastewater of organic matter [biochemical oxygen demand (BOD5)], phosphorus, and nitrogen. Using a suitable combination of methods, it is possible to meet all realistic effluent standards. In industrialized countries, the treatment of municipal wastewater today is generally a combination of mechanical–biological treatment with nitrification and denitrification and chemical precipitation. By the combination of these treatment steps, it is possible to reduce the BOD5 and total nitrogen to about 10 mg/L and the phosphorus concentration to 1.5 mg/L or even lower. By the use of additional steps, it is of course possible to reduce the effluent concentrations further. Even a complete recycling of wastewater is possible by the combination of nine treatment steps.

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