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CSERD: Dissolved Oxygen Activity

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1 of 4 CSERD Search Jump To: Browse: • • • • Dissolved Oxygen Activity Shodor
1 of 4 CSERD Search Jump To: Browse: • • • • Dissolved Oxygen Activity Shodor

Dissolved Oxygen Activity

Shodor > CSERD > Resources > Activities > Dissolved Oxygen Activity

Lesson Materials Lesson Plan

Lesson - Dissolved Oxygen

Stream Assimilation of Organic Wastes and the Impacts on Dissolved Oxygen

Steven I. Gordon

The Ohio Supercomputer Center

June 2005


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One of the most important measures of the health of the stream is the level of dissolved oxygen (D water. Oxygen (O 2 ) dissolves in water through the mixing of the water surface with the atmosphe oxygen is used by fish and other animals in the water to "breath" through their gills or other respi systems and by plants. If the levels fall too low, many species of fish, macroinvertebrates, and plant survive. At very low levels of oxygen, the stream becomes "septic" and smells rotten because low sulfur bacteria begin to dominate.

The level of oxygen dissolved in the water is inversely related to the water temperature. The low temperature, the more oxygen can dissolve in the water. At zero degrees centigrade, the maximu saturation level of DO is 14.6 parts per million (ppm) or for every million molecules of water, there molecules of oxygen. Because of the molecular weight of water, ppm of dissolved substances in wat


CSERD: Dissolved Oxygen Activity

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equivalent to milligrams of the substance per liter of water. As water becomes warmer, the saturatio of DO will drop. For example, at 30 degrees centigrade, the DO saturation is 7.56 mg/l while at 40 d goes down to 6.41 mg/l.

Even in very clean streams, the DO never quite gets to the saturation DO level as animals and p consume oxygen for respiration and bacteria decompose natural wastes, also using oxygen for resp When people discharge sewage or animal wastes into streams, those wastes are decomposed by b Because the discharge is a very large amount coming out of a pipe at one location, there is an imm depression in oxygen levels from the mixing of the sewage volume with low oxygen levels with th water with higher oxygen levels:

Average DO = (DO_effluent*Sewage_Flow_+DO_stream*Stream_Flow)/ (Sewage_Flow_+Stream_Flow)

Once discharge occurs, bacteria begin to decompose the wastes, using oxygen from the water in the The amount of oxygen that might be used is measured by a test called the Biochemical Oxygen D (BOD). For each increment of time, a portion of the BOD is decomposed based on a decay rate decomposition and as a result, an increment of oxygen is consumed. At the same time, additional o dissolved in the water in exchange with the atmosphere. The rate at which this reaeration happe governed by the characteristics of the stream and is often expressed as a function of the stream de velocity. Taken together this deoxygenation and reaeration produce an oxygen sag curve that loo figure 1.

reaeration produce an oxygen sag curve that loo figure 1. The oxygen level continues to drop

The oxygen level continues to drop as the amount of oxygen consumed exceeds the rate of reaerati enough of the BOD load has been consumed, the trend reverses as the rate of reaeration exceeds th deoxygenation and the oxygen level continues to rise until it approaches the saturation level

This system was modeled originally by Streeter and Phelps in 1925 and has become the basis for m the impacts of sewage treatment and industrial plants on oxygen levels in streams. In reality, the sy much more complicated as plants add oxygen to the water during photosynthesis and other bioch processes consume oxygen at different rates. However, it is still a realistic approximation of the tre can be used to test the impacts of sewage treatment plants on the receiving stream.

Using Stella, we have created a version of the model which represents the dissolved oxygen of Sug in Stark County, Ohio. The model is based on a much more complete and complex model of the s developed for USEPA (Brown and Barnwell, 1987). The Stella model is divided into two major sec BOD Load sector calculates the initial organic waste load and its decay with time. The DO Balanc calculates the original DO level as a function of temperature and the mixing of the waste load and th the impacts of BOD decay on oxygen levels over time. The model is shown in figure 2.


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CSERD: Dissolved Oxygen Activity Page 3 of 4 Figure 2: DO Model Diagram The BOD sector

Figure 2: DO Model Diagram

The BOD sector starts with the calculation of BOD loads. The current sewage volume from the s treatment plant is 1.03 cubic feet per second. This is converted into liters per day to make it compat the other calculations. The resulting volume is then assumed to mix with the stream. The concentra BOD in the sewage (33 ppm) and river (5.95 ppm) are multiplied by the respective flow volumes t the starting average BOD load at the place where the sewage treatment plant discharges. This beco initial level of BOD to be degraded by bacteria in the stream. The decay occurs with each incremen by a constant decay rate.

The DO calculations start with the lookup of the DO saturation level based on the current stre temperature. There is then a similar calculation of the average DO level based on the mixing of the with the stream water. For each time increment, the DO declines as a result of BOD causing deoxy and it increases via reaeration. This continues with time until the BOD load is decomposed and the level increases toward the saturation level. In the stream, this actually happens downstream of the discharge as the stream flows away from the discharge point.

The results are shown in several graphs and tables that track the levels of BOD and DO. There are s that allow adjustments to the sewage load which related to the volume of discharge, the concentrati BOD in the sewage which relates to the efficiency of treatment at the sewage treatment plant, and temperature to reflect conditions at different times of year.


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The assumptions of the model are:

There is only one point source of pollution and no stormwater or non-point sources of p

There is complete mixing of the effluent with the stream that occurs immediately and is downstream.

The stream does not significantly change in volume, velocity, or depth as we go down from the discharge so that the reaeration and deoxygenation rates are constant.

The temperature and pressure are constant.

There are no significant sources of oxygen from plants, oxygen use by animals, or oxyg decompose wastes in the sediment on the stream bottom.

Testing Different Sewage Treatment Options

Run the model in its initial form and note the impacts of the sewage treatment plant on What is the minimum DO and when is it reached? Compare the DO level with the info on DO requirements for aquatic species found in the Water on the Web page referred t

Rerun the model assuming the worst summer conditions where the temperatures are ex be 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Describe the impacts of the warmer temperatures.

The local watershed protection association is in a battle with the municipal authorities o upgrades and expansions. The operators of the plant want to improve the plant's perfor well as increase its capacity in response to anticipated growth. The current plant does the EPA discharge requirements of 25 ppm. In addition, they wish to expand its capa nearly double current capacity to 2.0 cfs. Use the model to test the impacts of an upgra expansion, an upgrade with expansion, and the impacts of summer high temperatures stream. The watershed association has suggested building a plant which exceeds stand treats the waste to a concentration of 15 ppm. What should be done and how will it im assimilative capacity of the stream?

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