Respirometry: A Valuable Tool in Wastewater Treatment


The use of respirometry as an operational tool in the wastewater treatment field has emerged over the past several decades as a powerful aid in understanding and troubleshooting the activated sludge process. A respirometer is a device used to measure the respiration rate of a living organism by measuring its exchange rate of oxygen and/or carbon dioxide. It allows investigation into how factors, such as age of the microorganisms or the addition of chemicals, affect the rate of respiration.

So imagine an analysis that enables an operator to see how operational changes such as the addition of certain chemicals, nutrients, waste streams, or bio-augmentation products might affect the biological wastewater treatment plant.  Respirometry provides a sound method to determine if any of these changes have the potential to enhance treatment or cause a plant upset, thus forgoing the risk of potential NPDES violations.

Analytical Services

Recognizing the incredible benefits of this analytical tool, Alloway has expanded its analytical services to include respirometry studies.

Data from these studies can assist operators in optimizing their systems in a number of ways:

  • Energy Optimization through Nitrification Management
  • Determining Treatability of Wastewater - Toxicity and Biodegradability
  • Evaluating the Size of a Biological Reactor
  • Assessing Feed Stocks and Health of the Digesting Culture
  • Determining the rbCOD (readily biodegradable COD) and calculating the sbCOD (slowly biodegradable COD) for Biological Nutrient Removal
  • Automatic Measurements of SOUR (Specific Oxygen Uptake Rate) and OUR (Oxygen Uptake Rate)

Equipment Sales 

In addition to expert analytical services, Alloway is also the exclusive United States distributor for Surcis respirometry products. Surcis BM respirometers are compact, simple, and user friendly, with very low maintenance. Each unit is equipped with powerful software that measures key parameters on the actual wastewater treatment process, enabling operators to better evaluate factors such as nutrients, biomass, pH, temperature, retention time, and dissolved oxygen to see the overall impact on the plant’s microbiological growth.

Surcis offers several models of respirometers to meet the needs of the end-user.

Click here to learn more about the various respirometry system models.

Alloway also offers onsite training and support to assist you in establishing your respirometry testing capabilities.

Contact us at if you would like more information on purchasing a respirometry system, or if you are interested in having Alloway perform a respirometry study for your facility.