Biological wastewater treatment systems require living biomass to remove biodegradable contaminants from wastewater. Effective treatment is directly dependent on the concentration of healthy biomass. It stands to reason that having an easy method to directly measure the quantity and quality of living biomass would be tremendously beneficial to the operation of biological wastewater treatment systems to overcome their perception as a ‘black box’.
This is Part 1 of a three-part series on Wastewater Monitoring. The series is divided into the following three segments: Part 1 will provide an overview of the conventional methods used to track living biomass; Part 2 will discuss a breakthrough method based on the measurement of Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) for accomplishing this task; and lastly, Part 3 will discuss the benefits associated in having a better measurement tool for quantifying living biomass which in turn can lead to improved stability through early-warning of process upsets, better control of process variables, and the direct cost savings through total process optimization.