Abstract

The knowledge of loads and concentrations is fundamental for the design of graywater treatment units, but the data on the characteristics of graywater and in particular graywater solids are weak. As general design values regarding graywater treatment facilities are not available for Germany, the objective of this article is to elaborate the characteristics of graywater and graywater solids. This paper describes the results of six sampling campaigns carried out on graywater systems in the German cities Berlin, Lübeck and Kiel. All graywater samples were collected proportional to the flow and the graywater solids were gathered separately. The collected data include graywater volumes and characteristics regarding the organic pollution (chemical oxygen demand (COD), 5-day biochemical oxygen demand (BOD5)) and nutrients (total nitrogen (TN), total phosphorus (TP)). The graywater volume fluctuated depending on the location. The specific average flow was 68 litre per inhabitant per day (L/inh.d). Inhabitant-specific loads of 49.3 gCODt/inh·d, 28 gBOD5/inh.d, 1 gTNt/inh.d and 0.38 gTPt/inh.d (subscript ‘t’ = total) were found. Information about the composition of graywater solids in terms of quantity and quality is seriously lacking. Therefore, graywater solids were examined with respect to organic matter (COD) and nutrients (TN, TP). The contribution of graywater solids with particle sizes over 200 microns in relation to the total inhabitant-specific load was approximately 3–8% depending on the parameter. The qualitative and quantitative characteristics of the investigated graywater fractions may serve as a base for the estimation of design values.

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