An investigation comprising four studies was undertaken to determine possible factors affecting the growth of several different types of filamentous microorganisms present in a bulking industrial wastewater activated sludge. Results from laboratory-scale continuous-flow and full-scale studies suggested that DO concentration and F:M ratio were the likely key factors affecting filamentous growth in the activated sludge. From the results of two laboratory studies isolating the effects of DO concentration and F:M ratio on filamentous growth, favorable growth ranges of DO concentration or F:M ratio were estimated for the following filaments: Microthrix parvicella, Nocardia spp., Nostocoida limicola II, and Types 0041, 1851, and 1863. Most of the bacteria causing filamentous bulking of the activated sludge were found to be filaments typically associated with low F:M, and increasing the F:M ratio appeared to cause N. limicola II to lose its competitive advantage in the activated sludge system. Type 1863, on the other hand, was found to be a low DO filament, as DO concentrations of 0.1 mg O2/l or less appeared to be a necessary condition for its filamentous growth. Though Nocardia was found to be a low F:M filament, its growth also seemed to be affected by DO concentration, as its growth was stimulated by concentrations of 1.0 mg O2/l or greater, with a near linear relationship up to at least 5 mg O2/l.

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