Rotifers are among the largest indicator organisms commonly found in wastewater treatment plants. I realized the other day after looking at storm water pond samples that I had never talked about rotifers on this blog.
In wastewater treatment, rotifers are associated with "good" treatment where all major treatment parameters have been met. As a large - 0.5 - 2mm organism, the rotifer is interesting in that it is a multicellular creature with visible mouth, digestive system, and discrete organs. They can be attached to floc where they feed on bacteria and other organic particles.
In wastewater, we see rotifers appear under low F/M (Food/Microorganism Mass) or "older" sludge ages. There also has to be sufficient dissolved oxygen and bacteria floc. So, we have an indicator organisms found in "good" system health that is easily observed - what makes them a "less than ideal indicator organism?" I'll list the pros and cons below:
Easily observed Somewhat resistant initial spills
Seen with low F/M Usually indicate an older sludge than optimal
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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