The Role of Bio-augmentation in Biological Waste Treatment

Have you ever heard of bio-augmentation before? Bio-augmentation is the process of adding archaea or cultured microorganisms into the subsurface to speed up the degradation of target wastes. It can be a very efficient operational tool in handling biological waste treatment.

Bio-augmentation usually requires the observation of indigenous varieties present in the contaminated area so as to determine if it is possible to proceed to biostimulation. Exogenous varieties with the capability to perform the remediation process are needed to be introduced when the present indigenous variety are not able to do so.

In municipal wastewater treatment, bio-augmentation is usually used to restart activated sludge bioreactors which are engineered systems that supports biologically active environments.

In a biological wastewater treatment facility, these cultured microbes are used for some practical reasons:
  1. They are able to degrade specific wastes such as phenols, aromatics, waxes, nitrate, etc.
  2. Minimize odors from unstable organic acids by stopping their formation and removing compounds that cause odor
  3. High levels of growth regardless of the elevated or low temperature environment and extreme pH levels.
  4. Speeds up removal of soluble COD (Chemical Oxygen Demand) or BOD (Biochemical Oxygen Demand) through strong enzyme growth and production and improved active biomass kinetics
  5. Forms floc to remove solids and high level of turbidity.
Adding specific cultured microbes into a functional biological waste treatment system enables operators to adjust the biomass to its desired output without the conflict of delay in process. Bio-augmentation often avoids unanticipated results as indigenous microbes adjust to the changing waste environment. Prior the process of adding these cultured microbes, these are carefully tested in the laboratory to be able to meet the requirements for it to be functional. It is made sure that these microbes have good stability, biosafety and have the ability to withstand varying conditions in different environment. These carefully tested microbes are then grown and stabilize similarly with techniques used to produce antibiotics or other pharmaceutical compounds.
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