A method for on-line measurement of wastewater organic substrate oxidation level during aerobic heterotrophic respiration

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A method for on-line measurement of the organic carbon oxidation level (OXC) during aerobic heterotrophic respiration in domestic wastewater was developed and tested. The method is based on batch incubation of sewer wastewater in an intermittently aerated respirometric reactor. Between aeration cycles, measured pH, dissolved oxygen (DO) and dissolved carbon dioxide (CO2) were used to calculate electron flow accepted by DO and the resulting production of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC). The CO2 production was measured using a novel fiber-optic sensor based on luminescence quenching. The method was tested on domestic wastewater with a relatively high pH and alkalinity. From the DO and DIC measurements, it was possible to evaluate substrate oxidation levels with a temporal resolution of less than an hour. Addition of organic substrates during the experiments confirmed the method's applicability. The substrates tested included ethanol (OXC = −2), glucose (OXC = 0) and oxalic acid (OXC = 3).

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