I often get questions regarding the potential impact of new waste stream on the biological treatment unit. After looking at reference materials on the compounds, we often do direct toxicity testing. The first test looks for inhibition of heterotrophic microbes. I prefer to use PolyTox test kits here. A quick 20-minute test that requires only a BOD bottle, stir plate, and BOD probe/meter; the PolyTox test used a known standardized biomass with the data being reduced oxygen uptake due to immediate inhibition.
Often the concern is the potential impact on ammonia oxidizing bacteria (AOB), which are much more sensitive and slower growing than heterotrophic microbes. Many compounds are highly toxic to ammonia oxidizing cultures including:
In order to determine the potential impact on ammonia removal, we can do a simulation using a concentrated Nitrosomonas culture. There are three basic toxicity screening tests we can do using a syringe of Nitrosomonas cell paste.
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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