Foaming incidents in activated sludge treatment plants are a worldwide problem and occur on a regular basis in both municipal and industrial activated sludge treatment plants. Foaming is most often caused by excessive growth of filamentous bacteria, especially the gram-positive ones affiliated within the Actinobacteria, e.g. the branched Mycolata or CandidatusMicrothrix parvicella. Previous studies have shown that populations of Microthrix can be controlled by addition of certain polyaluminium compounds, but until now no effective chemicals have been identified to control other important foam formers such as the Mycolata. A new chemical (FilamentEx, FEX-120) was tested in full-scale in a Swedish wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) with immense foaming problems. In total, three different dosing events were carried out for more than 1 year. After only 8–17 weeks in each period, all foam had disappeared, and dosing of FEX-120 was stopped. Another 11 full-scale WWTPs in different countries were treated with FEX-120 because of severe Mycolata foaming on process tanks. In nine out of 11 plants, where the causative organisms were Gordonia or Skermania, a significant reduction of foam up to 100% was observed after treatment for approx. 10 weeks. In two WWTPs with unknown Mycolata organisms, no reduction was observed.
Keywords: chemical control, FEX-120, foam-formers, Gordonia, Mycolata, Skermania