There are various parameters, indices and methods to assess the functioning and health status of a wastewater treatment plant. The study and analysis of the microbial community present in the wastewater play a crucial role in monitoring, controlling, correcting and optimizing the performance of wastewater treatment plants.
From microscopic analysis to higher life form (HLF) microbial analysis comprises several methods to study the composition of wastewater to predict and determine the current and subsequent health status of a Wastewater treatment plant.
The advanced microscopic analysis carried out at Team One Biotech includes floc analysis, the study of the distribution of filamentous bacteria, EPS secretion, sludge age, oxygen penetration and analysis of the presence of higher life forms such as flagellates, amoebas and ciliates along with organisms forming the metazoa group like rotifers, nematodes & water bears.
The presence of these organisms can help indicate the dissolved oxygen levels or DO, sludge age, aeration mixing requirements, and addition of clarifiers in wastewater treatment.
The other indicators that help assess WWT plants are BOD COD & TSS levels, ammonia and nitrogen levels, and faecal coliform bacteria levels. The analysis can also shed highlight the removal capacity of microorganisms for nutrient concentration such as phosphorous, nitrates, nitrites and ammonia in the wastewater system.
Wastewater Microbial Analysis is a unique and comprehensive catalogue to understand the effectiveness of Team One Biotech’s bio remedial solutions when applied to STP, ETP or WTP as well. By monitoring the various parameters and progress of T1B microbial solutions applied, persisting issues related to the effectiveness of wastewater treatment can be identified and corrective measures can be taken accordingly.
The WMA report is created using advanced microscopic and staining techniques and provides information about the following variables:
Flocs are formed when microorganisms attach themselves to the suspended solid particles in wastewater and clump to form larger particles which can then be removed using a settling or filtration.
Floc formation is influenced by factors such as the type of microbes present, the concentration of nutrients in wastewater and the aeration process.
To carry out floc analysis samples are collected from various stages of wastewater treatment such as influent, aeration basin & clarifiers. Floc properties such as their size, shape, density, settling rate, and extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) composition are then analysed in these samples.
Protozoa Population Analysis
Protozoa are single-celled organisms widely in water environments and can be used as bioindicators to measure water quality. They are divided into three main groups – ciliates, flagellates and amoebae. Their different characteristics and association with varying stages of the wastewater management process, sensitivity to ph, temperature, pollutant quantity etc changes make them a viable option to monitor and determine the performing condition of wastewater treatment.
The Biological Monitoring Working Party (BMWP) index that scores each protozoa species based on its sensitivity to pollution is the most commonly used method to quantify their diversity and abundance. To carry out protozoan analysis samples are collected, stained with specific dyes to distinguish between the groups, and then examined under a microscope.
The metazoans are multicellular organisms comprising several species of worms, crustaceans, insect larvae and invertebrates. Typically, metazoans called Rotifers, Nematodes and Water Bears consume other harmful bacteria and fungi in wastewater. These species are prone to changes in toxicity levels and harmful pollutants of the wastewater and hence are helpful indicators of the two.
The metazoan analysis can be performed using several methods such as visual identification with microscopy, DNA analysis by extracting DNA content, and biochemical assays which involves measuring biomolecular reactions or enzymatic activity pertaining to certain types of metazoa organisms.
Analysis For Filamentous Microbes
Filamentous bacteria have long thread-like strand structures. These organisms have an adverse effect as they can clog pipelines and reduce the efficiency of the WWT plant. The presence of these microbes is an indicator of a lack of dissolved oxygen or excessive nutrients.
The commonly used identification method for filamentous bacteria is a microscopic examination of activated sludge flocs. The Microscopic Identification of Activated Sludge Organisms (MIAS) index method classifies the microbes into several groups depending on their morphology (shape, branching, colour etc.) and quantifies their abundance. Both Gram staining and Neisser staining are utilised to detect these microbes in wastewater and sludge.
The filamentous bacterium such as Sphaerotilus natans is responsible for the formation of gelatinous masses in activated sludge systems leading to clogging and species like Nocardia spp. & Microthrix parvicella are notorious for excessive foaming and sludge bulking.
Higher Life Forms Like Alage and Fungi Analysis
Algae and fungi on their own are great helpers to maintain a healthy natural ecosystem and excessive growth of these organisms can also bring havoc on the environment.
Fungi help break down complex organic matter and compounds into simpler harmless molecules. A few Fungi species are also effective in removing heavy metals from wastewater. However, excess fungal growth can lead to the formation of fungal mats (bulking sludge or sludge bulking) which can clog pipes, reduce the transfer of oxygen and unpleasant odours impacting the overall health of the treatment plant.
Algae use photosynthesis to produce food and energy that can be consumed by other useful bacteria thereby releasing oxygen during the process and also removing nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorous from wastewater and sludge.
But uncontrolled growth can form thick mats, making sunlight penetration difficult and blocking oxygen transfer. This will, in turn, create anaerobic zones affecting other species of aquatic nature escalating to toxic fumes and toxic odours, and the release of harmful gases such as Methane (CH4) and Hydrogen Sulphide (H2S).
Team One Biotech Services on Wastewater MicroMonitor >> Assess >> Act – Microscopy Technologies – Analyse Wastewater Treatment Plant Health
Microscopic Analysis – Biomass Analysis – Floc Structure – Floc Size – Oxygen Penetration – Wastewater Microbial Analysis – Floc Analysis – Sludge Age – Extracellular Polymeric Substances – EPS Analysis – Wastewater Sample – Higher Life Forms In Wastewater – ASP – MBBR – SBR – UASB – MBR – Granulated Sludge – Biological Sludge – Biomass – Ciliates – Water Bear – Nematodes – Archaea – Filaments – Gram Staining – Neisser Staining – Granular Sludge