What Organisms Break Down Chemical Wastes in a Treatment Plant?

Modern urban wastewater treatment plant.

Bacteria is an organism that is used to break down chemical wastes in treatment plants. They are used for the processing of waste and for converting trash into less toxic substances. These bacteria are heterotrophic microbes, and they help in decreasing the toxicity of the environment.

The microbial action of bacteria helps in the disposal of chemical waste in treatment plants. Bacteria breakdowns organic waste matter into simpler substances, thus reduces pollution.

For example, bacteria that produce methane simplify organic matter present in the sewage produce some helpful biogas.


Activated Sludge:

Activated sludge is a term used to represent a combination of microorganisms that break down biodegradable particles from wastewater. When most of the waste material is removed from sewage, bacteria form floc and settle as sludge.

Few species of bacteria are always present in the system. But only those types of bacteria will perform their role who are well suited to the environment. So, the operator must create an environment that is more suitable for the growth of bacteria. And is also required for a healthy environment, for example, floc forming bacteria.

The three most essential and activated sludge involves the following organisms.

  • Bacteria (95%)
  • Protozoa (4%)
  • Metazoa (1%)


What is Bacteria?

Bacteria is a single-celled microorganism that has the following main shapes:

Bacillus: this indicates rod, rectangular or square shape of bacteria.

Coccus: this represents a round or oval bacteria shape.

Spirillum: this indicates spiral cork-crew shaped.

Bacteria are classified into different categories based on their oxygen reactions.

Anaerobic Bacteria: They do not need any oxygen to survive.

Facultative Bacteria: They can survive with or without bacteria, but they prefer living with oxygen.

Aerobic Bacteria: This type of bacteria needs oxygen to survive.

Bacteria contain a cell membrane, cell wall, and a hairlike extension called flagella. Flagella acts as an organelle of locomotion and helps in the movement of the body.

And most commonly used and activated sludge-making system is aerobic bacteria from wastewater; they utilize biodegradable stuff. They typically utilize protein, carbohydrates, fats, and many such compounds. Most of the bacteria only consume soluble and organic material.



Role of Bacteria in Treatment Plant:

By absorption process, small dissolved substances pass through the cell membrane. And most current treatment plans have replaced previous projects. At the same time, a primary treatment was commonly used, removing particulates or “settleable solids” and floating grease.

Sewerage wastewater is generated from numerous sources and contains thousands of organic materials. Thus, wastewater treatment is a biological process, and it acts as a biological zoo. And it houses bacteria, metazoa, a few micro life, and protozoa. These organisms play a vital role in the breakdown and removal of organic matter, nutrients in the wastewater.

Dissolved nutrients are present in tremendous amounts in the aeration basin, which allows bacteria to work efficiently. Bacteria effectively eliminates the need to break down the nutrients before they are absorbed into the cell body. And without the use of primary movement, they need to work twice as hard.

Enzymes are proteins that are produced in living organisms to help biochemical reactions occur. All biochemical reactions enzymes and bacteria also need enzymes for the breakdown of nutrients. Enzymes are weird compounds that only work in their suitable conditions. If enzymes are not available, bacteria will not perform the function correctly.