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Chemistry for Environmental Engineering and Science, 5th Edition


26-1 Total solids in a liquid sample consist of total dissolved solids and total suspended solids. The total dissolved solids represents all materials in the water that will pass through a filter with a 2.0 µm or smaller nominal average pore size. The material retained on the filter represent the total suspended solids.


(a) Total dissolved solids in municipal water supplies is of interest because water with total-sollids content greater than 500 mg/L imparts taste to the water and sometimes has a laxative and sometimes the reverse effect on some people. Such high solids content water also tends to stain glassware and has adverse impacts on irrigated crops, plants and grasses.


Total and volatile suspended solids in domestic wastewater are of interest as such solids can float and form unsightly scum layers or sink and cause sediment buildup in rivers or streams, which is objectionable for several reasons.


Total and volatile solids in sludge are of interest as they impact on the design and


operation of sludge digesters, vacuum filers, disposal units.

incineration units, and other sludge



Settleable solids analysis is used extensively to determine the need for and design of primary settling tanks for industrial wastewaters, and for determining the efficiency of sedimentation units.


The organic content of a wastewater, of suspended solids, and of sludge.


(a) At this temperature most of the free water in a sample will be driven off, but change in organic content and inorganic minerals will be minimal.


In the determination of total dissolved solids analysis for water suppllies, a drying temperature of 180 o C is used as organic content is generally low and thus not impacted by the higher temperature, and all mechanically occluded water is better removed than at 103 o or 105 o C.


(a) 550 o C is about the lowest temperature at which organic matter can be oxidized at ra easonable speed.


(b) At higher temperatures inorganic matter decomposition may be excessive. Also, at a higher temperature glass fiber filters used in suspended solids analyses might melt. At lower temperatures, organic oxidation may not be complete.

These organic compounds are volatilized and lost from the sample during drying, thus erroneous results would be obtained concerning the total organic content of a sample.

26-7 Partially digested sludges can contain relatively high concentrations of volatile organic acids and other short-chain organic compounds that are lost from the samples upon drying. Thus erroneous results would be obtained concerning the total organic content of the sample.



The filter should not be heated to a temperature higher than about 550 o C as it will melt.


The volume of settleable material in a wastewater.

26-10 In order to prevent decrepitation of solids during combustion at 550 o C or above, a preliminary controlled firing of samples with a bunsen burner should be conducted to destroy all flammable materials before placing the samples in the muffle furnace.

26-11 Samples should be evaporated to dryness first to remove all moisture and a total dissolved solids analysis should be conducted. A preliminary controlled firing with a bunsen burner should be conducted initially to prevent decrepitation during combustion at 550 o C. A temperature of 550 o C should be used for the combusion to insure rapid oxidition of organic materials, but without excessive inorganic decomposition. Also, this temperature will prevent melting of glass fiber filters if used. Caution must also be applied in assuming volatile solids analysis indicates the total organic content of a sample if volatile organic materials such as volatile acids, hydrocarbons, or alcohols are present.


(a) Lower (convention currents lift pan)


Lower (MgCO 3 decomposes at 350 o C)


Lower (organics lost during initial drying at 103 o to 180 o C)


Lower (CaCO 3 as well as MgCO 3 decomposes)


Volume = 0.65(350/50,000)(10 6 m 3 ) =


===== 4550 m 3