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Chemical Oxygen Demand

To obtain the value of COD of water sample using open reflux method.
Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) is defined as the amount of a
specified oxidant that reacts with sample under controlled conditions. It
is commonly used to indirectly measure the amount of organic
compounds in water. Most applications of COD to determine the
amount of organic pollutants found in surface water.
It is expressed in milligrams per litre (mg/L), which indicates the mass
of oxygen consumed per litre of solution.
The advantages of the COD test as compared to the BOD test are:
1. COD results are available much sooner.
2. The COD test requires fewer manipulations of the sample.
3. The COD test oxidizes a wider range of chemical compounds.

4. It can be standardized more easily.

However, the disadvantage of the COD test is that the results are not directly applicable
to the 5-day BOD results without correlation studies over a long period of time. The
samples used for the COD analysis may be grab or composite. Preservation of the
sample can be accomplished by adding sulphuric acid to depress the pH to 2 and the
holding time with preservation is 7 days.
On the other hand, the value of COD should always higher than BOD. This is because
COD or Chemical Oxygen Demand is the total measurement of all chemicals in the water
that can be oxidized. BOD or Biochemical Oxygen Demand is supposed to measure the
amount of food (or organic carbons) that bacteria can oxidize (in 5 days). A COD test
result (that can be performed in about 2 hours) can be correlated to an expected BOD
result (which takes 5 days). It is also because of the chromate refluxing procedure used to
measure COD, almost all organic compounds will be oxidized. Hence, the value of COD
is higher than BOD.

In this experiment, the value of Molarity is already given which is 0.1 M.

The value of molarity obtains by conduct:
Molarity of Fe (N

S O4 2
,FAS titrant
H 4 2

1. 25 ml of 0.04167 M K 2Cr2O7 solution is poured 250 ml conical

2. Distilled water is added to 100 ml.
3. 30 ml concentrated H2SO4 is added and let it cooled.
4. Using 2- 3 drops of ferroin indicator, the solution is titrated with
5. Data acquisition and calculation
Volume of K2Cr2O7 =________ml
FAS titrate



0.1 M

The molarity of FAS solution is calculated:

K 0.25
K = volume of 0.04167 M K2Cr2O7 solution titrated (ml)
F = volume of FA
Molarity of FAS, M =


Reflux apparatus
Conical flasks
Graduated cylinder
Distilled water
Analytical balance
Glass rod
Mercuric sulphate crystals/powder
Glass beads
Ferroin indicator solution
Concentrate sulphuric acid containing argentum sulphate
Standard potassium dichromate solution , 0.04167 M
Standard ferrous ammonium sulphate titrant

Reflux of water samples
1. 50 ml of distilled water is poured into refluxing flask A and 50 ml
sample into refluxing flask B.
2. 1 g of mercuric sulphate (HgSO4), 3-4 glass beads is added into
each flask.
3. 5 ml of sulphuric acid (H2SO4) reagent containing argentum
sulphate (Ag2SO4) was slowly added to each flask and HgSO4 is
dissolved by mixing it well.
4. 25 ml 0.04167 M potassium dichromate (K 2Cr2O7) solution is
added to each flask and mixed well.
5. The remaining 70 ml H2SO4 is slowly added and swirling and
mixing is continued while adding the acid.
Caution: to prevent local heating of flask bottom and a possible
blowout of flask contents, the reflux mixture must be mixed
thoroughly before applying the heat
6. Both flasks is attached to condenser and been reflux for 2 hours.
7. The switch if off after 2 hours and let the flasks cool down.
8. The flask is disconnected from the condenser and let the cool
down in the sink.
9. The flask is poured into 500 ml of conical flask and distilled water
is added until 350 ml.

10. The solution was titrated with ferrous ammonium sulphate (Fe
(NH4)2(SO4)2) titrant using 2 3 drops ferroin indicator (the colour
changes from yellow to blue- green to reddish brown).

COD calculation
Blank (flask A)
Water sample (flask B)


FAS titrant volume (ml)






Sample calculation:
Molarity of FAS solution= 0.1M
Volume of sample = 40 mL

COD, mg/L =

( AB ) x M x 8000
volume of sample , mL

( 14.113.2 ) x 0.1 x 8000

= 18 mg/L

The value of chemical oxygen demand (COD) for the sample is 18 mg/L. The COD test
is used to determine the oxygen equivalent of the organic matter that can be oxidized by a
strong chemical oxidizing agent (potassium dichromate) in an acid medium (Davis, M.
L., 2010). This means that the organic matter that has been oxidized in the test is 18
According to the website of Indah Water, the value of COD for water supply intake is 50
mg/L while the value of COD for effluent that is discharged downstream is 100 mg/L.
The result that is obtained from this experiment is less than both of the standard COD
value thus, it can be said that the water sample have less value of organic matter and
inorganic chemicals.
Biological oxygen demand (BOD) is another standard to determine the oxygen4

demanding strength of waste water. According to Davis M. L. (2010), the value of COD
will be greater than BOD because more compounds can be oxidized chemically than
biologically. The knowledge of COD of a particular wastewater can aid the operation and
control of the wastewater treatment plant.
The most important precaution in this experiment is to handle the acids used carefully
because some of them are strong acid, and if in contact, it may corrode the surface in
As for the calculation, the value of chemical oxygen demand (COD) for the sample is
18 mg/L for the open reflux method as the water sample have less value of organic matter
and inorganic chemical.
1. Davis, M. L. (2010). Water and Wastewater Engineering: Design Principles and
Practice. New York: McGraw-Hill.
2. Chemical
August 2015.
3. Sewerage
http://www.iwk.com.my/v/knowledge-arena/effluent-standards on 2
4. N.P. Cheremisinoff. Handbook of Water and Wastewater Treatment Technologies.
Butterworth-Heinemann. USA, 2002.
5. M.L. Davis. Water and Wastewater Engineering Design Principles and Practice.
McGraw-Hill. USA, 2010.