Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

William A. Weiler


Sediment oxygen demand is an important factor in determining dissolved oxygen concentrations in streams and rivers subjected to sewage effluents and other sources of organic pollution. Resuspension of sediments during bottom-scouring after periods of heavy precipitation exerts an immediate and increased oxygen demand on the water and is expected to decrease sediment oxygen demand at the site.

Sediment samples were collected monthly from April through November, 1983 from three small streams subjected to sources of organic pollution. The samples collected were arbitrarily categorized into wet and dry period samples based on the total precipitation between collection dates. Sediment oxygen demand was assessed using the batch respirometric method. Total SOD was partitioned into chemical and biological fractions. Volatile and dried solids were also determined to demonstrate their relationships to sediment oxygen demand.

It was concluded that sediment oxygen demand is significantly increased by sewage effluent. Partitions of the sediment oxygen demand were approximately equal except at sample sites affected by sewage effluent where the chemical partition was drastically increased. Also demonstrated was the fact that SOD increased with increasing volatile material and that the more compact sediments showed decreased SOD's. Finally, no effects of combined sanitary-storm water sewer overflow or bottom scouring due to heavy precipitation were observed on total sediment oxygen demand in the streams.