Those of us working with industrial wastewater treatment often complain about textbooks and training courses focusing on municipal wastewater. Rick Marshall & Steve Leach - both highly experienced wastewater professionals - are offering a petrochemical focused wastewater course in December 2020. This course will be online using Zoom but have the same content as in-person training. I highly recommend this course for those of you working in petrochemical or refining wastewater treatment.
Microbial metabolism generates energy by moving electrons along metabolic pathways to a terminal electron acceptor. If this sounds complex or brings back images of the biology class electron transport chains, I apologize but it is good to know the general metabolic options in wastewater and not get bogged down by the individual biochemistry steps.
We often use the term aerobic, facultative anaerobe, or anaerobe when talking about wastewater bacteria. These terms are great, but the lines are not as clean as you may think. Let's start with the general options.
It all starts with where the electron ends
Going back to the electron tower (pictured above), microbes generate energy for growth by moving the electron to the highest energy acceptor. If the terminal electron acceptor is oxygen, you have an extremely high energy yield. As you move to other electron acceptors, less energy is produced.
Terms that we use in wastewater
Erik Rumbaugh has been involved in biological waste treatment for over 20 years. He has worked with industrial and municipal wastewater facilities to ensure optimal performance of their treatment systems. He is a founder of Aster Bio (www.asterbio.com) specializing in biological waste treatment.
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