Effect of the rotifer Lecane inermis, a potential sludge bulking control agent, on process parameters in a laboratory-scale SBR system

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The influence of a high density of rotifers, which is known to be able to control filamentous bacteria, on the parameters of an activated sludge process was examined in four professional laboratory batch reactors. These reactors allow the imitation of the work of a wastewater treatment plant with enhanced nutrient removal. The parameters, including oxygen concentration, pH and temperature, were constantly controlled. The experiment showed that Lecane rotifers are able to proliferate in cyclically anaerobic/anoxic and aerobic conditions and at dissolved oxygen concentrations as low as 1 mg/L. In 1 week, rotifer density increased fivefold, exceeding the value of 2,200 ind./mL. The grazing activity led to an improvement in settling properties. Extremely high numbers of rotifers did not affect the main parameters, chemical oxygen demand (COD), N-NH4, N-NO3, P-PO4 and pH, during sewage treatment. Therefore, the use of rotifers as a tool to limit the growth of filamentous bacteria appears to be safe for the entire wastewater treatment process.

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