Domestic sewage should have a musty odor. Bubbling gas and/or foul odor may indicate industrial wastes, anaerobic (septic) conditions, and operational problems. Refer to table 10-3 for typical wastewater odors, possible problems, and solutions.
Wastewater is normally 99.9 percent water and 0.1 percent solids. If a wastewater sample is evaporated, the solids remaining are called total solids.
The amount of solids in the drinking water system has a significant effect on the total solids concentration in the raw sewage. Industrial and domestic discharges also add solids to the plant influent. There are many different ways to classify solids. The most common types are dissolved, suspended, settleable, floatable, colloidal, organic, and inorganic solids.
Part of the total solids is dissolved in wastewater. Much like sugar dissolves in coffee, many solids dissolve in water. Dissolved solids pass through a fine mesh filter. Normal wastewater processes using settling or flotation are designed to remove solids but cannot remove dissolved solids. Biological treatment units such as trickling filters and activated sludge plants convert some of these dissolved solids into settleable solids that are then removed by sedimentation tanks.
Those solids that are not dissolved in wastewater are called suspended solids. When suspended solids float, they are called floatable solids or scum. Those suspended solids that settle are called settleable solids, grit, or sludge. Very small suspended solids that neither float nor
Table 10-3. - Odors in Wastewater Treatment Plant