You can find microbes (also called microorganisms) in the air, as well as soil, lakes, and oceans. They’re all over our body, both inside and out. Moreover, even though we can’t see them, microbes have a massive impact on us and our environment. In fact, we couldn’t live without them. Without bacteria, our earth would be littered with corpses, since they break down and decompose dead organisms. However, how do they work and why should you implement wastewater microorganisms?

They are essential in human culture and health, and in wastewater treatment serve as a valuable tool to treat sewage, and produce enzymes and other bioactive compounds. Microorganisms mix with water in the activated sludge process and meet biodegradable materials in wastewater, which they then consume as food.

Major Groups of Microorganisms

Five significant groups of wastewater microorganisms are in the aeration basin of the activated sludge process; they are:


  • Algae and fungi – present with pH changes and older sludge
  • Metazoa – dominate more extended age systems, including lagoons
  • Bacteria – primarily responsible for removing organic nutrients from wastewater
  • Protozoa – a critical role in wastewater treatment, these microorganisms remove and digest free-swimming dispersed bacteria and other suspended particles. They also improve the clarity of wastewater effluent. Like bacteria, some require very little oxygen while others need oxygen to survive. Some protozoa can even survive without oxygen.
  • Filamentous bacteria – normal components of activated sludge biomass. The existence of some filamentous bacteria is important and helpful for good floc formation to a biomass. Since filamentous bacteria grow in long thread-like strands, cells do not separate from each other after cell division and therefore grow in the form of filaments. They then connect with each other to form a mesh, which is the most important part in floc formation and causes the separation of a fluid or removal of sediment from a fluid.
picking up sludge - wastewater microorganisms

Common Questions on How Wastewater Microorganisms Work

Microorganisms work very simply, but you may have questions as to exactly how they work. Microorganisms exist in either its single-celled form or in a colony of cells, which brings us to the first question.

–    How do bacteria create colonies in the first place?  Bacteria constantly make copies of themselves, just as other life-forms on earth; they do this to survive. Bacteria have to be tricksters to reproduce, which includes horizontal gene transfer. The name is the definition since it transfers genetic material to another organism, which is not its offspring. When it mutates, it alters the gene functions.

    How do bacteria remove pollutants from wastewater? Two main methods that microorganisms exploit when reducing pollutant levels in wastewater are aerobic and anaerobic digestion. Aerobic digestion (digests organic waste by stealing microbe oxygen to survive) is used for wastewater purification and involves trillions of bacteria, which then alters the chemical makeup of the material into a more environmentally-friendly effluent. Anaerobic digestion (biological fermentation of organic matter) uses alteration of the chemical composition of the organic material, thus reducing pollutants and contaminants from the water.

–    What is activated sludge? Defined as a mixture of microorganisms which contact and digest biodegradable materials from wastewater, the activated sludge process is a biological process. To accurately control its growth, you need to manage the items that may affect these microorganisms.

–    How do I enhance biological processes? Biological processes can be enhanced through process control with Biological Augmentation and Biological Stimulation using our Innova MB™ line of products that are specifically designed to work with many elements of a wastewater treatment plant.

ATS Innova Uses Microbiology to Enhance Wastewater Treatment

Many wastewater facilities use bacteria and other wastewater microorganisms to aid in the process of cleaning sewage. It takes just the right amount of propriety ingredients to be useful in wastewater treatment. At ATS Innova, we are here to listen to your concerns and address questions that will help you improve and enhance your wastewater treatment process. Please contact us today to speak to our expert representatives at 855.215.4600.

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