Water & Wastewater Treatment

WWT March 2018

Water & Wastewater Treatment Magazine

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Page 26 of 47

TOC in wastewater treatment: vital warnings The presence of organic compounds in a water sample can indicate any of number of things, including contamination which could have serious consequences. In this article, Peter Morgan of Elementar UK gives the lowdown on Total Organic Carbon (TOC), how it is used in the wastewater industry and the types of instrumentation and methods used to analyse it. The Knowledge www.wwtonline.co.uk | WWT | MARCH 2018 | 27 PETER MORGAN TECHNICAL SALES SPECIALIST ELEMENTAR UK Q: What is Total Organic Carbon? A: Total organic carbon (TOC) is the amount of carbon found in any organic sample. It has a wide range of applications, including checking the water quality, analysing the cleanliness of pharmaceutical equipment, or even identifying the amount of carbon contained within a soil sample. It is important to note that TOC instrumentation does not help to identify non-organic compounds. Q: Why must we measure TOC in wastewater? A: In most countries measuring TOC is a mandatory requirement for those operating in the wastewater sector. For instance, organisations that frequently discharge wastewater into watercourses TOTAL ORGANIC CARBON Q&A will have to ensure they monitor TOC levels and report these figures to the appropriate regulatory bodies. Q: What are the con- sequences of failing to measure TOC in wastewater? A: They can be quite severe for humans and the environment. The TOC content of water is a basic indication of the level of organic contamination and water purity. As a substance, water can contain both natural and synthetic organic matter, which are both measured using TOC testing. Examples of natural organic matter include amine, urea, and in some cases even faecal matter. Synthetic contaminants include, but are not limited to, pesticides, detergents, fertilisers and herbicides. With both of these types of matter in mind, TOC gives

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