Bioengineering the Future of Wastewater Treatment Through Natural Processes
Wastewater treatment improvement through biological supplementation
Water quality is questionable when looking at the emerging pollutants that accumulate day after day. In terms of water treatments to eliminate organic compounds, biological treatments are the most used techniques, especially the Conventional Activated Sludge (CAS) process. Unfortunately, several of these compounds, such as petroleum and industrial wastes, some pesticides, pharmaceuticals, and other substances are refractory to such treatments.
New and improved biotechnological advances have emerged to resolve recalcitrant problems. Bio augmentation of activated sludge, via the addition of microorganisms that are able to produce versatile enzymes and bio surfactants to enhance biodegradability of organic pollutants, is gradually being adopted as a solution for the recalcitrance of Bio-Refractory Organic Compounds.
Microorganisms are the labor workers of any biological wastewater system. By enhancing the microbial community, the overall wastewater system can operate more efficiently. The purpose of bio-augmentation is to supplement the existing microbial community in order to improve its performance.
By adopting a bio-augmentation program, the core process of a wastewater facility can be enhanced. While other technologies, chemicals or consumables, for example can increase effluent quality, these technologies are expensive and hard to handle and cover up underlying problems with the microbial community. Bio-augmentation offers effective treatment without the capital investment associated with plant expansion and equipment solutions.
By incorporating a bio-augmentation program you can reduce the use of the consumables and thus reduce costs.
Cost savings using bio-augmentation include the following:
- Energy costs are conserved
- Reduced spending on consumables like polymers, powdered activated carbon, oxidizers, and others
- Reduction in maintenance and equipment repairs
- Sludge volume reduction in lagoons, which saves dredging or dewatering costs and off-site disposal charges
- Improved efficiency of the microbial community reduces the need for capital improvements
- Bio-augmentation can resist the changes in influent conditions due to changes upstream of the plant
- Meeting necessary discharge limits
- Reduce operational difficulties that result in a number of issues, including: added costs or lower quality effluent, maintaining a healthy biomass using bio-augmentation technology thus helps in preserving a robust biomass which leads to less operational changes, improved resistance to environmental and influent changes, and odor control
- Using bio-augmentation, the microbial community can be enhanced for improved resistance to toxic shocks, better removal of problematic compounds, and increased organic removal
- Allows for quick start up after a shut down or toxic shock to the system
- Increases clear water discharge into the environment