More than 1,600 prefabricated on-site wastewater treatment plants are in operation in the Morsa watershed in Norway. As of 2010 a monitoring program on the performance of these plants is in effect. Sampling methods for wastewater treatment plants is discussed, and different methods are compared. The study includes six different plant models, of which all are prefabricated package plants. The parameters investigated were total phosphorus (Tot-P), orthophosphate (PO4-P) and suspended solids (SS). Diurnal curves showed no apparent repetitive variation over 24 h intervals, indicating good equalization and robust design to compensate for highly variable loadings. A comparison of grab samples and time proportional composite samples showed almost identical average values, and a paired two-tailed Student's t-test indicates no statistically significant difference between the sampling methods. The results indicate that equivalent results should be expected irrespective of sampling method, and, as composite sampling is attributed to much higher costs, it is recommended that grab sampling should be used when a large number of plants are evaluated.

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