Fermentation systems, methods and apparatus

The present invention relates to devices, methods, and applications for treating wastewater, and more particularly to biological methods for eliminating pollutants from wastewater. This invention further relates to devices and methods for growing germs on-site in a wastewater treatment facility, and for economically inoculating sufficient microbes to Fix different treatment problems quickly


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In treating wastewater, germs mainly bacteria utilize the soluble organic matter from the water as a food supply. The bacteria consume the organic chemicals and convert them into carbon dioxide, water, and energy to generate new cells.

Using microbes for wastewater treatment and environmental clean up of contaminated lands is well known. Examples of this may be observed in industry, such as inflammatory products marketed to biological wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) from UnitedStates based businesses such as Novozymes of Salem, Va.. (Novozymes Biologicals, Inc.); InterBio, Inc.. of The Woodlands, Tex.; Sybron Corporation of Birmingham, N.J.; or Polybac Corporation of Bethlehem, Pa.. These microbial products target variousproblems linked to the functioning of the treatment systems.

The basis of these industrial products is the isolation or pre-selection of microbes from different environments aside from the actual site being treated. These non-indigenous microbes, hereafter referred to as”exogenous” microbes, areisolated by such companies and fermented or grown under controlled conditions in a manufacturing center. From the fermentor, the pure culture of microbes is concentrated into a paste, reconstituted, and placed on an inert carrier, such as oatmeal, bran, rye, or cornhusks. These carrier substances are often sterilized to reduce the natural background contamination along with other undesirable mosquito organisms or unwanted microbes. These unwanted or non-target microbes can become a significant part ofthe final product. This reconstituted mix then undergoes a procedure, usually freeze-drying. Even with the use of cryo-protectants from the reconstituted mixture to protect the microbes, this process normally kills in excess of 90 percent ofthe microbes. So only about 1-10% of these microbes could be recovered after freeze-drying. Air-drying, a post liquid fermentation process, can be employed by some companies to stabilize the microbes, but nevertheless results in high losses and poor recoveryof possible microbes. After stabilization, distinct microbes are blended into formulas to address different operational problems or to biodegrade various environmental pollutants.

The process of incorporating these exogenous microbes to a biological wastewater treatment system is termed”bioaugmentation,” since it’s adding or improving the existing biological fauna. Using current technologies, the application of exogenousmicrobes often does not have any impact or insufficient impact, resulting in the plant violating National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), or violating other environmental regulations,such as state or local environmental regulations, and environmental regulations of countries other than the USA. Currently, the typical response time is 2-3 weeks for bioaugmentation to take effect. Considering that the NPDES Permits are yearly, thisonly leaves about a couple of weeks or less to spot that the NPDES Permit is jeopardized, which is insufficient time to allow the plant to deal with problem.

There’s a need to be able to fast, reliably, and economically control biological wastewater treatment plant upsets in order to lower the levels of contaminants in wastewater and also to avoid violation of NPDES Permits and other environmentalregulations regarding pollutant discharge.

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