Wastewater is a very complex, and often difficult sample to work with. A lot can be done with a wastewater sample, but often a lot needs to be done to it before you get those (hopefully) ground-breaking results. So much of work has already been done on wastewater that it is no longer sufficient to just perform a single analysis, and realising too late that you forgot to do something on your sample is an all too unpleasant reality. The flow chart below outlines the basic analyses for wastewater samples, and how to process your sample in order to achieve them.
Wastewater samples, or any samples for that matter, should be processed immediately. This is to avoid any microbial or chemical changes to your sample that may affect the reproducibility of your results. Storing of wastewater samples is possible, but remember that not all storage conditions are created equal, and the method you use will greatly depend on your research objectives.
Once your lab protocols are optimised for these tasks, wastewater sample analyses will become routine and rapid, allowing you for more time to devote to other tasks. Good luck with your analyses and feel free to send in any protocols or analyses you think we need to know or might have missed.