In order to improve activated sludge plant operation (achieving higher efficiency and cost savings) beside influent and effluent characteristics and working parameters (e.g. dissolved oxygen, total and volatile suspended solids, pH, recirculation flow rate, etc.), the biomass activity should be monitored, the bacteria being responsible for the pollutant degradation. Since conventional cultivation based methods are inadequate to quantify environmental microorganisms (due to scarce number of cultivable microorganisms and time-consuming procedures) several “non-conventional” techniques were applied in this study, in order to compare the obtainable information and their routine feasibility. Different measurements (VSS concentration, Oxygen Uptake Rate, microbial counts by cultural and biomolecular methods – MPN-PCR, ATP content, dehydrogenase activity, microbial cell viability and enzymatic activity) were carried out on mixed liquor samples, taken from a municipal activated sludge plant (440,000 p. e.). The preliminary results of the research are presented in this paper.

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