What are the Characteristics of Raw Sewage?
Sewage is 99 % water carrying a dilute mixture of various wastes from residences, industries and other public places. A fraction of the wastes are dissolved, while the remainder are suspended in colloidal and true suspensions. Raw sewage, sewage sludge, and septic tank waste are all referred to as sewage. The majority of raw sewage is water comprising of domestic waste, industrial waste, and debris. Apart from this, waterborne pathogenic organisms such as cholera, jaundice, typhoid, dysentery, and gastroenteritis can be found in sewage.
Characteristics of Raw Sewage
The features of raw sewage are determined by the amount of water available and the amount of pollution per inhabitant.
The raw sewage characteristics of importance are:
a) Temperature: The temperature of sewage varies according on the season. However, the temperature of the surface water is somewhat greater than that of the subsurface water. Heat is released during the breakdown of organic stuff in sewage, resulting in a high temperature.
b) Color: The intensity and age of sewage are determined by its colour. The colour of fresh residential sewage is grey, whereas the colour of septic sewage is dark. When sewage is combined with industrial waste, it takes on a distinct hue.
c) Turbidity: Turbidity is an optical quality that indicates how clear or cloudy water is in general.A nephelometer or turbidimeter measures turbidity in Nephelometric Turbidity Units (NTU).
d) pH: Raw sewage is generally alkaline in nature with pH value between 7.3 to 7.5.
e) BOD: It is defined as the amount of oxygen required by microorganisms in sewage for aerobic decomposition of biodegradable matter. This is the most commonly used parameter to assess the strength of municipal or organic water quality.
f) COD: The amount of oxygen required for the chemical oxidation of organic and inorganic chemicals present in wastewater using oxidizing agents such as potassium permanganate, potassium dichromate, and others is known as chemical oxygen demand (COD).
g) Total solids (TS): Total solids content of sewage is defined as all the matter that remains as residue upon evaporation to 103 to 105oC. Total solids exists in different forms like: suspended solids, colloidal solids and dissolved solids.
h) Suspended solids (SS):Suspended Solids (SS) are the tiny particles which float around in the sewage liquor and which do not settle out easily over time.
i) Total Nitrogen (TN):It is the sum of nitrate-nitrogen (NO3-N), nitrite-nitrogen (NO2-N), ammonia-nitrogen (NH3-N) and organically bonded nitrogen.
j) Total organic carbon (TOC): The total organic carbon test measures all the carbon released in the form of carbon dioxide.
Composition and constituents of sewage largely depends upon the source from which it is found and accordingly it may be classified as strong, medium and weak depending upon the concentration of these constituents.
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