oxygen sag curve

views updated

oxygen sag curve The curve obtained when the concentration of dissolved oxygen in a river into which sewage or some other pollutant has been discharged is plotted against the distance downstream from the sewage outlet (see graph). Samples of water are taken at areas upstream and downstream from the sewage outlet. The presence of sewage reduces the oxygen content of the water and increases the biochemical oxygen demand. This is due to the action of saprotrophic organisms that decompose the organic matter in the sewage and in the process use up the available oxygen.