I have recently had more people asking about viscous or non-filamentous bulking. I will quickly go over what viscous bulking looks like and associated symptoms. Then we can cover the most common causes and solutions available to operators.
First, viscous bulking is caused when bacteria begin to produce excessive amounts of extracellular polysaccharides (EPS). When in normal concentrations EPS acts like a glue to increase floc size and density, excess EPS can entrap water and form a "gel" like floc that is easily suspended by water currents. (The floc bulk density is nearing that of water). At this point the suspended floc goes over the clarifier weir, can cause problems with polymer demand, increase water in wasted sludge, and cause problems maintaining permit. In addition to holding additional water in the floc, the EPS can also have an abnormal charge density that changes polymer demand.
How to test for viscous bulking:
Causes of viscous bulking:
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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