Biological Oxygen Demand

Last updated: June 24, 2015

What Does Biological Oxygen Demand Mean?

Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD) is a standard method for measuring the amount of organic pollution in a sample of water indirectly using bacteria and other microorganisms, which feed on organic matter in the presence of oxygen. The results of a BOD test show the amount of oxygen (water-dissolved) that is consumed by microbes in five days.The higher the BOD, the higher the amount of pollution in the test sample.

Safeopedia Explains Biological Oxygen Demand

Running water both produces and consumes oxygen. It takes oxygen from the atmosphere and from plants as a result of photosynthesis. Still water does not dissolve as much oxygen as moving water. Animal respiration in the water and different chemical reactions consume oxygen in water. The amount of oxygen consumed by microorganisms to eliminate waste in water is known as the Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD). Wastewater from sewer treatment plants, stormwater runoff and failing septic systems often contain much waste from microorganisms that must be broken down, and it takes a lot of oxygen for microbes to do it. This is a form of pollution that should be monitored to avoid doing damage to our environment.


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