11. Three water samples namely river water, untreated sewage water and secondary effluent discharged from a sewage treatment plant were subjected to BOD test. The samples were labelled A, B and C; but the laboratory attendant did not note which was which. The BOD values of the three samples A, B and C were recorded as 20mg/L, 8mg/L and 400mg/L, respectively. Which sample of the water is most polluted? Can you assign the correct label to each assuming the river water is relatively clean?

Answers (1)

BOD means biochemical oxygen demand. It refers to the amount of oxygen consumed if all organic matter in 1 ltr of water is oxidized by bacteria. BOD tests measure the rate of update of oxygen by microorganisms in the water sample. Greater the value of BOD more is the polluting potential. Out of the three samples mentioned above, secondary effluent has the highest BOD value, so it is most polluted. So, the correct labelling will be:

(a) Secondary effluent

(b) River water

(c) Untreated sewage water.

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