I have been bench testing another unique industrial wastewater. This water contains multiple resistant compounds and long chain polymers that are difficult to degrade. When this influent is added to MLSS from mixed industrial and municipal systems, the biomass deflocculates and becomes very viscous with a 24 hours of feeding 100% the influent. Seeing this as a challenge, I started screening several blends of chemical wastewater microbial isolates to see if any of the strains could work with this water. What I looked for in lab testing:
The microbe tested was a interesting Rhodococcus strain that was originally isolated for chlorinated hydrocarbon and herbicide degradation. What is interesting is that within 24 hours of growing on the influent, the Rhodococcus cultures entered log phase growth. What is interesting is that in response to the waste, the Rhodococcus formed a hydrophobic mass that floated and was very stable. With continued feeding of the influent, we added other Pseudomonas cultures that had previously not done well on the waste. Interestingly, with the addition of the Pseudomonas strains the floc started to form without the hydrophobic or viscous biopolymers seen earlier. This is an very noticeable case of how finding the right cultures can create the needed biomass. It is rare to see a true hydrophobic growth phase, and every less common to see how the hydrophobic phase ends with the addition of a secondary culture. I'm including a photo of the test flask. I am continuing the test to see what increasing F/M ratio does to floc formation.
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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