Multicellular indicator organisms - rotifers, nematodes, tardigrades - Are they a good or bad in wastewater treatment systems?
As a wastewater treatment system "matures" (decrease in soluble BOD5), dissolved oxygen concentrations eventually rise to levels that can support multicellular lifeforms. Unlike bacteria (prokaryotes) and protozoa (eukaryotes) which are all single cellular organisms, metazoa are more complex organisms with differentiated cells. These organisms feed on microbial floc and protozoa present. While seen with excellent water quality, an abundance of metazoa indicates an older sludge. The biggest problem with older sludges (very low F/M) is the increase in effluent turbidity and pin floc carryover in the secondary clarifiers. Common wastewater metazoa include:
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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