Glossary A-B

Absoprtion The passage of one substance into or through another; e.g. an operation in which one or more soluble components of a gas mixture are dissolved in a liquid.
Activated Sludge Residue that results when primary effluent is mixed with bacteria-laden sludge and then agitated and aerated to promote biological treatment. This speeds breakdown of organic matter in raw sewage undergoing secondary wastewater treatment.
Adsorption (a) Adhesion of molecules of gas, liquid, or dissolved solids to a surface. (b) An advanced method of treating wastes in which activated carbon removes organic matter from wastewater.
Aerobic Life or processes that require, or are not destroyed by, the presence of oxygen.
Aerobic treatment Process by which microbes decompose complex organic compounds in the presence of oxygen and use the liberated energy for reproduction and growth. Types of aerobic processes include extended aeration, trickling filtration, and rotating biological contactors.
Anaerobic A life or process that occurs in, or is not destroyed by, the absence of oxygen.
Attenuation The process by which a compound is reduced in concentration over time, through adsorption, degradation, dilution, or transformation.
Biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) A measure of the amount of oxygen consumed in the biological processes that break down organic matter in water. The greater the BOD, the greater the degree of pollution.
Biodegradable The ability to break down or decompose rapidly under natural conditions and processes.
Biological treatment A treatment technology that uses bacteria to consume waste and thus break down organic materials.
BOD5 The amount of dissolved oxygen consumed in five days by biological processes breaking down organic matter.
By-product Material other than the principal product that is generated as a consequence of an industrial process.

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