The Addition of Microbes Improve Wastewater Treatment Plant Efficiency

wastewaterThe use of microbes in wastewater treatment plants is well documented and is an integral piece of the wastewater treatment process. However, due to various circumstances, the natural microbial population in a facility can become depleted resulting in system back-ups, organic material build-up and overall reduction in system efficiency. It is at this point when supplementation of a microbial product becomes necessary.

Traditionally, microorganisms are used in the secondary treatment of wastewater to remove dissolved organic matter. The microbes are used in fixed film systems, suspended film systems or lagoon systems, depending upon the preference of the treatment plant. All of which are stages that microbial supplementation can be added with benefit. A higher concentration of microbes is going to be able to more quickly remove the organic matter from the water, particularly in the case of lagoon systems where it can take several months for the degradation of waste to be completed.

Microbes also can be of benefit in other stages of the process. Microbes added into the primary treatment phase can work to degrade bottom and surface solids, resulting in less production of sludge. Implementation here can cause the secondary treatment phase to be even more effective through a more thorough treatment in the primary phase.

In some wastewater treatment plants, an advanced treatment stage is necessary to remove excess nutrients that can result in algal blooms and other downstream issues. Microbes can be substituted for chemicals in this stage to keep the treatment process as natural as possible and minimize further pollution.

Finally, the addition of microorganisms can prove beneficial in reducing the volume of sludge that must be disposed of. As a byproduct of the wastewater treatment, sludge is filtered out throughout the various treatment stages and must be treated before disposal. Microbes aid in the treatment and disposal of the sludge by decomposing additional organic matter and reducing volume, while also limiting the noxious odors emitted by the sludge.

It is not hard to see why so many wastewater treatment plants are using biological alternatives in their systems. Aside from the benefits of improved capacity, improved efficiency and lowered operation costs, microbes also keep the treatment process as natural as possible, which is the ultimate goal of a wastewater treatment plant.

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