Relationship between bacterial density and chemical composition of a tropical sewage oxidation pond
Studies were carried out to examine the performance of the sewage oxidation pond situated in and serving the community of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria. A survey of the coliform and total bacterial populations was carried out. The sewage was also examined for biochemical oxygen demand, dissolved oxygen content as well as for nitrate, phosphate, silica and chloride contents. The mean coliform bacteria counts decreased gradually from 69.1×105 per 100 ml to about 10.1×105 per 100 ml as the sewage moved through the oxidation pond into the receiving stream. A similar decrease in mean biochemical oxygen demand of the sewage from 397.8 Ib/acre/day to 64.2 Ib/acre/day was also observed. The concentrations of nitrate, phosphate and chloride decreased from the pond influent to the pond effluent. On the other hand, both the silica and dissolved oxygen content of the sewage gradually increased from 14.1 to 19.0 mg/l and 8.1 to 13.9 mg/l respectively, across the pond to the effluent. The coliform and total bacterial counts as well as the concentrations of most of the chemicals in the receiving stream increased after being joined by the sewage oxidation pond effluent. It is therefore concluded that the receiving stream was subject to both bacteriological and chemical pollution. Building of additional oxidation ponds or addition of a primary sewage treatment to the existing system is recommended for more efficient wastewater treatment.
Key words: Bacterial density, chemical composition, oxidation pond, sewage, tropics.