The Fusina WWTP receives civil and industrial wastewater from Venice and its hinterland. Its treatment capacity is in the range of 4,000–5,000 m3/h. In winter the Fusina WWTP is subjected to brown and viscous foams developed on the surface of the aeration basins and of the clarifiers. The microscopic observation of biological foams and activated sludge samples showed high concentration of the filamentous organism Microthrix parvicella. This paper investigates the growth of M. parvicella from January 1998 to January 1999 and relates it to foams developed on the aeration basins and clarifiers, to temperature, surfactants, BOD5, NH4, NO3, NO2, DO, PO4 and pH of the wastewater influent, to SVI and the other species of filamentous organisms of mixed liquor. The results demonstrate the strong connection of the foams developed with M. parvicella abundance, the synergic action with surfactants, the dependence of M. parvicella on temperature and no relation to the other chemical and physical parameters investigated.

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