Main content area

An obstacle to China’s WWTPs: the COD and BOD standards for discharge into municipal sewers

Liao, Zhenliang, Hu, Tiantian, Roker, Scott Albert C.
Environmental science and pollution research international 2015 v.22 no.21 pp. 16434-16440
biochemical oxygen demand, chemical oxygen demand, pollutants, wastewater treatment, China
In 2001, a construction campaign regarding wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) occurred in China. Unfortunately, the treatment has not yet achieved anticipated effectiveness. A critical reason for this is that the influent chemical oxygen demand (COD) and biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) concentrations in WWTPs are unacceptably low. This paper indicates that a fundamental, but commonly overlooked contributing factor to this problem is that a large portion of easily degradable COD and BOD is degraded prematurely before entering municipal sewers, and this is directly correlated to China’s standards for pollutant discharging into municipal sewers. This perspective is further unfolded through retrospection of the history of Chinese wastewater treatment and the investigation of standards among developed zones and districts. This paper suggests that in China, the standards for pollutant discharging into municipal sewers should be relaxed. Meanwhile, unnecessary pretreatment of COD and BOD should cease for the purpose of ensuring that easily degradable COD and BOD can be transferred to WWTPs to improve treatment efficiency. Moreover, additional alternatives are presented to resolve this problem.