BOD - Biochemical Oxygen Demand

The BOD (biological or biochemical oxygen demand) value indicates the amount of oxygen which is needed for the biological degradation of organic substances in water in mg O2/ l.

Generally, the biological oxygen demand serves as a sum parameter for the assessment of pollution of sewage.

BOD5 and Total BOD

Unlike the special factor BOD5, which according to the standardized lab method the measurement of the biochemical oxygen demand excluding the nitrification part follows after 5 days, the total BOD includes this bacterial oxidation of ammonia to nitrate which allows a continuous online monitoring.

The nitrification is an important part of the sewage treatment processes and should be taken into consideration for optimal control of waste water treatment plants. Hence, determination of BOD5 is hardly suitable for optimum control of WWTPs.

Online measurement of BOD

Measurement principle of the BOD analyzer BioMonitor
Process scheme of LAR's biochemical oxygen demand measurement system

Measurement using cascades and O2-Sensor

Similar to the working principle of a biological treatment plant, in this WWTP simulation, the sewage is mixed with activated sludge under aeration and continuously led through the drain cascade. On leaving the reactor cascade the remaining oxygen will be determined with the O2 sensor, whereby the volumes of waste water, activated sludge and air are specifically defined and monitored. With this method it is important to use the plants-own biomass to simulate the real biology of the particular waste water treatment plant. Hence, the measurement results have specific relevance relating to the WWTP and its unique properties.

The BioMonitor regulates not only the optimal control of the oxygen input to the activated sludge reactors of the WWTP, but monitors the incoming contaminations of the WWTP's influent. This enables the operator to even out possible peak pollutions, thereby maintaining aeration at a regulated level, as usually it is these peak pollutions which cause additional aeration, which in turn is energy consuming and expensive.

BOD determination by O2-Electrode

Common BOD analysers allow a determination within 10 to 30 minutes, whereby short-term measurements of the oxygen consumption through O2 electrodes dominate. However, as oxygen is hardly soluble in water, very often low measurement results are found, which then need to be extrapolated. Essentially, this method really only is suitable in determining very easily degradable substances.

Activated Sludge Respiration (ASR) and Sludge Activity

The biomass or sludge of a waste water treatment plant not only needs oxygen to decompose substances, but also for the endogenic respiration, the so-called activated sludge respiration or sludge activity. This oxygen turnover of the bacteria is measured in mg/l*min (volume/time).

This amount of the total oxygen consumption is measured separately online in the BioMonitor - by use of the reference cascade, through which only the sludge and air is led. The decrease of oxygen concentration of the inlet air corresponds to the ASR.

On comparing the results of the sludge activity to the results at the cascade's drain gives the conclusion as to the anaerobic decomposability of the biomass and even toxications may be highlighted.

Our BOD and Toxicity analyzers

Need further information?

Request here

Dear Sir or Madam,

Please note that our contact forms currently send an error message after submitting, but we still receive your submitted data. Alternatively you can contact us at

We are working on a solution and ask for your understanding.

LAR Process Analysers AG

The total organic carbon (TOC) is one of the most important sum parameters in the assessment of the organic pollution of water. Since it includes all carbon compounds as one mass, it is exactly defined and an absolute quantity. Therefore, it may be determined directly.

Read more about TOC measurement methods.

Total organic carbon analyzers of LAR Process Analysers AG

The chemical oxygen demand (COD) indicates the amount of oxygen which is needed for the oxidation of all organic substances in water and is thus an important indicator for water analysis. It is considered in the planning and controlling of treatment, as well as assessing its efficiency, thus forming the basis for the calculation of waste water charges.

The COD can be determined in laboratory or online, whereby these methods significantly differ in duration and consumables used.

Read more about COD measurement methods.

COD analyzers of LAR Process Analysers AG

The biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) indicates the amount of oxygen which is needed for the biological degradation of organic substances in water.

Since the generally used BOD5 excludes the nitrification part of the process, this parameter is poorly suited for the control of waste water treatment plants. Alternatively, the total BOD is well-suited, due to the determination of the nitrogen as well as the carbonaceous part of biological degradation.

Read more about the online measurement of BOD.

Toxicity is described as the direct harmful effect of a substance on organisms. These effects can already occur at low concentraions of toxic substances and are dependent on the incubation period and the dosage.

Some test methods that are available on the market can detect toxicity by using fish, daphnia, molluscs, algae or luminous bacteria and testing whether a water sample has a toxic effect on the organisms. They do not, however, identify exactly which toxins are present.

Read more about online toxicity measurements.

BOD / toxicity analyzers of LAR Process Analysers AG

The total nitrogen bound (TNb) shows the pollution of water caused by nitrogen compounds. Nitrogen may be present as ammonia, ammonium salts, nitrites, nitrates and organic nitrogen compounds.

In contrast to single measurements of the above-mentioned components, the TNb determination contains all these substances in a single analysis process.

Read more about online TNb measurements.

The total phosphorus (TP) is a sum parameter that shows the organic and inorganic phosphorus compounds in water. Phosphorus is an essential nutrient for humans as well as flora and fauna. However, the substance – depending on its concentration– may cause serious damage.

Read more about online TP measurements.

TN TP analyzer of LAR Process Analysers AG