Given a wastewater, what process should be applied to treat it: biological, chemical, or physical? Should it be treated with a combination of processes? These questions cannot be answered unless the constituents of the wastewater are known. Thus, before any wastewater is to be treated, it is important that its constituents are determined. On the other hand, what are the constituents of a given raw water that make it unfit to drink? Are these constituents simply in the form of turbidity making it unpleasant to the eye, in the form of excessive hardness making it unfit to drink, or in the form bacterial contamination making it dangerous to drink? Water and wastewater may be characterized according to their physical, chemical, and microbiological characteristics. These topics are discussed in this chapter.
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