Water-quality modeling has been used as a support tool for water-resources management. The Streeter–Phelps (SP) equation is one often-used algorithm in river water-quality simulation because of its simplicity and ease in use. To characterize the river dissolved oxygen (DO) sag profile, it only considers that the first-order biological oxygen demand (BOD) degradation and atmospheric reaeration are the sink and source in a river, respectively. In the river water-quality calculation, the assumption may not always provide satisfactory simulation due to an inappropriate description of BOD degradation. In the study, various patterns of BOD degradation were combined with the oxygen reaeration to simulate the DO sag profile in a river. Different BOD degradation patterns used include the first-order decay, mixed second-order decay, and oxygen-inhibition decay. The results shows that the oxygen-inhibition SP equation calculates higher BOD and DO concentration, while the mixed second SP equation calculates the least among the three tested models. In river-water calculation of Keelung River, the SP and oxygen-inhibition SP equations calculate similar BOD and DO concentrations, and the mixed second SP equation calculates the least BOD and DO concentration. The pollution loading of BOD and atmospheric reaeration constant are the two important factors that have significant impacts on aqueous DO concentration. In the field application, it is suggested that the mixed second SP equation be employed in water-quality simulation when the monitoring data exhibits a faster trend in BOD decay. The oxygen-inhibition SP equation may calculate the water quality more accurately when BOD decay is slower.