Podcast | November 12, 2013

Bioaugmentation Improves WWTP Operations

WEFTEC2013352

Jim Elliot, Vice President of Sales for In-Pipe Technology, explains how bioaugmentation uses good bacteria to protect the environment and lower operating costs for wastewater treatment plants.

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The following is an excerpt from a Q&A with Water Online Radio. Click on the Radio Player above to hear the full interview.

Water Online Radio: How does In-Pipe Technology serve your market?

Jim: We are a unique service focused on bioaugmentation.  We take the biology in the sewer collection system and make it a useful part of the wastewater treatment process. Our method is a continuous injection of beneficial bacteria so that we out-compete the existing bacteria with ours. The advantages are reduced odor, good FOG control, and reduced load on the wastewater treatment plant. 

Water Online Radio: Can you explain in more detail how bioaugmentation works?

Jim: Bioaugmentation is the process of injecting spores (bacteria or live spores) into the collection system at multiple engineered points. The points depend on the design of the collection system and what we are trying to accomplish. Once the spores get into the waste flow, they grow and replace the existing bacteria. There are a lot of species out there and we know which species work best together so we can create a beneficial bio dome. 

Water Online Radio: So you are changing what is coming into the plant.  Does that create any issues for plant operators?

Jim: We actually enhance the process at the plant.  Our bacteria are able to utilize oxygen more efficiently.  Often they can turn down their air.  We also make the fraction of bio available organics, higher BFA’S and fatty acids. 

Water Online Radio: Does this have an impact on operating costs?

Jim: It does.  Depending on what we are trying to achieve, sometimes we just want to look at the benefits of the collection on reducing fats, oils and greases which cause overflows. Or, we might look at the BOD or the Nitrogen load on the plant. We do a cost analysis and then offer a customer-engineered-solution to our customer.  There should absolutely be a cost savings in excess of our fee as a result of our program.  We stand behind that.

Water Online Radio: To take it a step further, is there an impact on the operating costs in terms of reduced workload or extension of equipment life for the plants?

Jim: It allows the plant to have greater capacity.  A couple of our clients have contracted with us because they were up against their limits. Their population grew and they didn’t have the capital for plant expansion.

Water Online Radio: This sounds like a unique treatment method. When a new project is launched, is there a learning curve to understand how this works technically? 

Jim: I do a lot of presentations for engineering firms to explain how our process works. We work very closely with the regulatory committee on the state level so that they understand what we are doing. We also have a PhD on-staff who heads up our Research & Development efforts and publishes analytical papers for review.  We have real data from our clients to back up what we are doing.

Water Online Radio: In terms of implementing and maintaining the system, are there any special problems or access that you need to go through the existing manhole? 

Jim: We hang our dosing panels-which are about the size of a large shoebox-in the manhole.  They can either be hung on the ladder or they can be bolted onto the inside of the manhole. We service them monthly, so the client doesn’t use any of their own labor.  We maintain ownership of the panels so that if one should fail, it is our problem to fix...

Click on the Radio Player above to hear the full interview.