Arkea® Bioaugmentation – Wastewater Treatment Facility

Arkea® Bioaugmentation is the addition of microbial cultures to a wastewater treatment facility (plant or sewer system) to achieve a specific goal in order to:

  • reduce operational costs,
  • achieve permit compliance, or
  • correct an operational problem (Table 1).

Most bioaugmentation products only include bacteria (Table 2). However, Arkea® products also include archaea (Table 3).

Bioaugmentation increases the number of saprophytic (cBOD-removing bacteria) and nitrifying organisms in a treatment facility to a level where their enzymatic activity can be observed as an improvement in treatment performance. Bioaugmentation requires the selection of appropriate organisms (genera and number) to be added as well as a proper addition point for the organisms. Selected cultures must be added to an operational condition that is favorable for their growth that is, an adjustment in one or more parameters such as pH or dissolved oxygen may need to be made. Cultures often need to be added to a treatment facility on a routine basis because:

  1. protozoa and rotifers continuously consume these organisms as well as indigenous organisms,
  2. microbes leave the treatment plant in the effluent, and
  3. microbes are removed from the treatment process through sludge wasting.

The ability of augmented cultures to achieve specific goals can be illustrated by the control of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) and reduction in sludge production. Selected cultures can compete for the same substrates as sulfate-reducing bacteria, thus reducing the amount of hydrogen sulfide produced, and selected cultures can oxidize sulfide (HS-) to elemental sulfur (So), thus preventing the formation of hydrogen sulfide.

Approximately 15 percent of municipal primary sludge and secondary sludge consists of particulate waste such as cellulose, an insoluble starch made of mers of glucose. If not solubilized to glucose, one pound of cellulose into a treatment plant is one pound of solids to be dewatered and disposed as an operational expense. However, with the addition of the appropriate culture of organisms that have the enzymatic systems to produce cellulase in order to solubilize insoluble cellulose to soluble glucose, sludge reduction occurs. For every pound of glucose degraded, 0.6 pounds of microbes (sludge) is produced. Therefore, by solubilizing cellulose, less solids (sludge) need to be dewatered and disposed.

Table 1

Treatment Goals for Bioaugmentation Applications
Anaerobic digester biogas enhancement
Anaerobic digester sludge reduction
BOD and COD removal
Cold weather microbial activity improvement
Fats, oils, and grease (FOG) removal
Hydrocarbon removal
Lagoon sludge reduction
Nitrification improvement

Table 2

Genera of Bacteria Commonly Used in Bioaugmentation Applications

Table 3

Key Genera of Archaea in Arkea® Bioaugmentation Products
Methanobacteriales (Methanobrevibacter)
Methanomicrobiales (Methanoculleus)

Arkea® Bioaugmentation – Biological Dredging of Wastewater Lagoons

For biological dredging of wastewater lagoons, Arkea® microbial cultures can be introduced into the wastewater lagoon. Biological dredging is the reduction of accumulated sludge in a wastewater lagoon using bioaugmentation cultures. Biological dredging depends on the addition of new and/or additional cultures of microbes to degrade volatile solids in the sludge and the influent volatile solids and cBOD.

Arkea® Bioaugmentation reduces a lagoon’s sludge content:

  • Converts colloidal and particulate BOD or VSS to soluble BOD that can be absorbed and degraded
  • Absorption and degradation of solubilized BOD results in decreased sludge production

The benefits of Arkea® Bioaugmentation are:

  • Significant cost savings over conventional mechanical dredging
  • Extension in years of the operational life of the lagoon
  • No shutdown of lagoon required while dredging
  • No damage to lagoon liners