Biochemical oxygen demand or BOD is a chemical procedure for determining the uptake rate of dissolved oxygen by the biological organisms in a body of water. It is not a precise quantitative test, although it is widely used as an indication of the quality of water.
Most pristine rivers will have a 5-day carbonaceous BOD below 1 mg/L. Moderately polluted rivers may have a BOD value in the range of 2 to 8 mg/L. Municipal sewage that is efficiently treated by a three-stage process would have a value of about 20 mg/L or less. Untreated sewage varies, but averages around 600 mg/L in Europe and as low as 200 mg/L in the U.S., or where there is severe groundwater or surface water infiltration. (The generally lower values in the U.S. derive from the much greater water use per capita than in other parts of the world.)

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