The extent of activated sludge separation problems associated with excessive growth of filamentous microorganisms has increased recently in the Czech Republic. Most of the activated sludge plants in the country were contacted by mail with a questionnaire, the aim of which was to obtain the basic technological data on the plants and on the nature and intensity of activated sludge separation problems. Selected activated sludge plants were visited at different periods of the year and samples of activated sludge mixed liquor and foam were collected for microscopic examination and kinetic batch tests. It was found that good settling properties were associated more with good quality activated sludge flocs than with the absence of filaments. On the other hand, a very high abundance of filaments always resulted in bulking or foaming. The most common filamentous microorganisms in activated sludge mixed liquors were M. parvicella, N. limicola and Types 0092, 0041 and 0803 while the foams were mostly dominated by M. parvicella, NALOs (GALOs) and N. limicola. Seasonal shifts in filamentous population diversity were also observed. M. parvicella, Type 0092, N. limicola, Type 0803 and Type 0041 were dominant in both conventional and biological nutrient removal activated sludge plants whereas the other Eikelboom's types of filaments dominated mostly in conventional activated sludge plants. The ability of foams to denitrify depended on the dominating filamentous microorganism and type of substrate.

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