Wastewater Bioaugmentation and Biostimulation

Michael Gerardi

ISBN 978-1-932078-78-7, ©2016, 147 pages, 6×9, Hardcover

  • Useful guide to solving problems of deficient biomass in wastewater treatment plants
  • Strategies for using microbes for biogas, controlling filamentous organisms, floc formation, odor reduction, sludge management and more

Written by a leading wastewater biologist with many years’ experience in plant operation, this book is a guide to understanding and enhancing existing microbial populations in wastewater treatment. It is a practical book that addresses operational problems arising from deficiencies in biomass and shows how these situations can be recognized and corrected. After presenting background on major wastewater microbes, the text explains the types of bacteria used in bioaugmentation and the nutrients, enzymes and growth factors needed to solve processing problems and achieve operational goals, for example, the conversion of starches such as cellulose to soluble sugars. Using numerous case studies, the text focuses on the treatment functions performed by augmented microbes: improved anaerobic biogas production, control of undesired filamentous organisms growth, floc formation, nitrification, odor control, resistance to toxicity, sludge reduction, and many more.


Chapter 1. Introduction

Chapter 2. Bioaugmentation
2.1. How Do the Cultures Work?
2.2. Procedure for the Selection and Application of Bioaugmentation Cultures

Chapter 3. Prokaryotes: Activity and Structure
3.1. Prokaryotic Activity: Degradation of cBOD
3.2. Prokaryote Structure

Chapter 4. Bacteria
4.1. The Effects of Temperature, pH, and Osmotic Pressure
4.2. Anaerobic Ammonia Oxidation (anammox)

Chapter 5. Archaea
5.1. Extremophilic Archaea
5.2. Extreme Thermophiles
5.3. Morphology
5.4. Metabolism
5.5. Reproduction
5.6. Interactions with Other Organisms
5.7. Ammonia-oxidizing Archaea
5.8. Environmental Factors

Chapter 6. Methanogens
6.1. Hydrolysis
6.2. Acid Production (acetogenesis)
6.3. Methanogenesis
6.4. Methanogens in Activated Sludge

Chapter 7. Rumen Microbiology

Chapter 8. Fungi
8.1. Enzymes

Chapter 9. Higher Life Forms
9.1. Cropping Action
9.2. Coating Action
9.3. Recycling Nutrients
9.4. Developing Floc Particles
9.5. Increasing Aerobic Activity in Floc Particles and Biofilm

Chapter 10. Nutrients, Growth Factors, and Enzymes
10.1. Nutrients
10.2. Growth Factors
10.3. Enzymes

Chapter 11. Microbial Reproduction
11.1. Bacterial Growth Curve and Bioaugmentation

Chapter 12. Case Studies
12.1. Case Study #1: Aerobic Digestion of Grease and Scum
12.2. Case Study #2: Sludge Reduction at an Activated Sludge Process
12.3. Case Study #3: In-situ Digestion of Anaerobic Digester Grease Cap
12.4. Case Study #4: Improvement in Secondary Solids Settleability
12.5. Case Study #5: Treating Industrial Loading Problems
12.6. Case Study #6: Decrease in Volatile Solids in Lagoon Sludge Blankets

Abbreviations and Acronyms


Book Review


A “black box” has been a common analogy for the microbial ecology involved with biological wastewater treatment and, by extension, bioaugmentation. With “Wastewater Bioaugmentation and Biostimulation” (Destech Publications, Inc. 2016), Michael Gerardi takes a proverbial spotlight and shines it on a technologies that are commonly dispatched as either “superbugs” or “snake oil”. The book is designed for operators and technicians and is an excellent reference for anyone looking for ways to optimize the performance of a biological wastewater treatment system.

Gerardi, an experienced wastewater operations consultant and the author of numerous books about wastewater treatment, quickly gets to the point. In the very first sentence of the preface, he challenges the assumption made in many plant designs and O&M manuals that indigenous microbial populations are homogenous and stable. This discussion happens early because the concepts of bioaugmentation and biostimulation essentially rely on the fact that microbial populations in wastewater treatment are in, what Gerardi calls, a dynamic state of change.

The book starts with a condensed description of wastewater treatment goals and challenges which sets the stage nicely. Several chapters are devoted to various biota found in wastewater including bacteria, archaea, fungi, and higher life forms, which are important for understanding within the context of bioaugmentation and biostimulation. The chapters on bioaugmentation examine how cultures work and detail eight common applications, including nitrification, settling, and the degradation of recalcitrant compounds. Gerardi is upfront in acknowledging that bioaugmentation does not always work but provides good guidelines for increasing the likelihood that it does, including pre-bioaugmentation assessment, application guidance, and monitoring strategies. Several case histories in the book illustrate this nicely. Nutrients, growth factors, and enzymes are covered in a single chapter toward the end of the book. The information is concise but relevant.

One topic left out of the book is the rapidly developing field of microbial DNA-based identification methods. Newly developed techniques actually make it possible to track bioaugmentation strains in full-scale systems, and there is broader applicability in further understanding how and why microbial populations change over time. While the techniques are somewhat advanced for operators and wastewater technicians, the application of these tools are critical for not only better understanding existing bioaugmentation applications but are needed for developing new applications.

In conclusion, “Wastewater Bioaugmentation and Biostimulation” is a very practical reference for operators using or considering bioaugmentation and/or biostimulation products in their plants. Gerardi’s experience and understanding of the biological factors in wastewater treatment allows his spotlight penetrate holes in the “black box” to unveil a relevant overview of how biological systems work and how bioaugmentation and biostimulation can be used to provide performance and cost benefits.

Matthew Livingston, GMM Wastewater & Biogas Solutions, Salem, VA

ISBN 978-1-932078-78-7, ©2016, 147 pages, 6×9, Hardcover

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