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  • Combating the Negative Effects of Winter Temperatures on Nitrification

    Dec 03, 2019

    nitrobacter

    Introduction: The Nitrogen Cycle
    The environment uses many biological reactions to maintain balance in nature. Since nitrogen is a key component of all living matter, it is critical that this element be recycled. This process is represented by the nitrogen cycle.

    Nitrogen_Cycle
    (click to enlarge)

    At the top of the nitrogen cycle, you see nitrogen gas or N2.  Our atmosphere is largely nitrogen gas (approximately 80%). As you move counterclockwise, you can see that Nitrogen gas is also “fixed” by numerous bacteria to produce ammonia. Toward the center of the cycle, you also have your decomposers, such as your aerobic and anaerobic bacteria and fungi that also degrade organic matter and contribute ammonia.

    A key detail is that ammonia in water at pH below 9 is in the ionic form. This is the form available to microorganisms. Nitrification is the next step in the cycle and it is crucial to converting ammonia gas to nitrite and then to nitrate, which is the form most readily assimilated by plants. As dead plants decompose, nitrogen is released again as ammonium ions. And finally, nitrate may be converted back to nitrogen gas and discharged back to the atmosphere by a process called denitrification.

    The Nitrification Process
    There are numerous microbes that can accomplish this process but Nitrosomonas and Nitrobacter are the major strains known and most all nitrifying microbes require the same conditions.  They are called chemotrophs, a type of autotroph, because they use chemicals as food instead of organics. 

    The first step in nitrification is conversion of ammonia to nitrite. The bacterium Nitrosomonas oxidizes ammonium to nitrite plus hydrogen and water.

        NH4+ + 1.5 O2 --> NO2- + 2H+ + H2O

    The second step is conversion of nitrite to nitrate, which is facilitated by the bacterium Nitrobacter.

        NO2- + 0.5 O2 --> NO3-

    The Nitrobacter reaction generally occurs faster than the Nitrosomonas reaction.  Because of this, you would seldom find high levels of nitrite in wastewater systems. And if conditions are right, the nitrate could then be further broken down by denitrification releasing nitrogen gas. 

    How Temperature Affects the Process
    In ideal conditions, Nitrobacter and Nitrosomonas bacteria that are already in wastewater will consume a significant amount of ammonia on their own. These naturally occurring bacteria will slow down in the winter, but the discharge permit limits don’t change during the winter. So, wastewater plant operators facing a 3 ppm discharge limit, for example, will see their levels climb from 1, to 2, to 3, to 10 ppm as the weather cools. When ammonia levels must be decreased quickly, overnight even, a dose of our nitrifier products will help by increasing the number of microbes.

    A fast drop in temperature causes a more severe problem, as the natural population does not have time to adjust, often resulting in higher organics. Nitrifiers are inhibited by organics, whose degradation competes with them for oxygen, providing another factor that slows nitrification. In this instance, carbonaceous degraders, or heterotrophic bacteria that use organic carbon as their food source, are recommended as well to help reduce organics. 

    Plant upsets will tend to have a larger impact on nitrifiers and can take them weeks to recover, unlike carbon bacteria that can recover in days or hours. This slow recovery is due in part to the very slow growth of nitrifiers. In fact, most bacteria can double in as little as 20 minutes, but nitrifiers take 12 to 24 hours to double. Nitrifiers are also more susceptible than other microbes to wash out in a waste treatment system and to toxicity.

    Highly Affected Industries
    Municipalities: Ammonia is produced by the breakdown of organic sources of nitrogen, the fourth most abundant element in living things. High levels of nitrogen are found in organic wastes. Since municipal wastewaters contain large amounts of organic wastes, the wastewater will have a high ammonia concentration. 

    Food and beverage: Foods are also organic in nature, containing large nitrogen concentrations. Residual food components in food processing wastewaters often lead to a requirement to treat residual ammonia.

    Refineries: Refineries are more sophisticated generally using activated sludge treatment systems. These wastewaters have higher concentrations of phenol and other toxics. They represent an opportunity to treat the organics and the nitrification system. Most well-operated refineries use or have used bioaugmentation with nitrifiers. It provides a very important tool for control of their systems.  

    How We Can Help
    Our nitrifier product line is based on Nitrosomonas and Nitrobacter strains and can assist with the conversion of ammonia to nitrite and nitrate, so that wastewater treatment plants can effectively manage the nitrogenous compounds, like ammonia, in their effluent.

    In addition to incurring serious penalties if discharged wastewater exceeds limits set forth by NPDES (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System) permits, excessive amounts of ammonia also have severely harmful effects on the environment. These include:
    • Toxicity to fish in receiving waters
    • Dissolved oxygen depletion in receiving waters
    • Reduction of chlorine disinfection efficacy
    • Reduction in the suitability of water for reuse

    Learn more about Ammonia Reducer NH3 and Ammonia Reducer NS, or contact us today to connect with an expert.

  • Restaurant Lift Station Trial Exhibits Successful FOG Reduction with EnviroZyme®

    Oct 21, 2019

    wastewater-lift-station-on-sidewalk

    EnviroZyme® conducted a restaurant lift station trial in order to study FOG (fat, oil, and grease) reduction resulting from treatment with bacteria, specifically with our Moderate Release FOG Block product. The lift station in our trial—located outside the busiest restaurant in a tourist town—had been experiencing problems related to FOG loading from the restaurant’s wastes for the better part of the summer.

    Lift stations pump wastewater from a lower point to a higher point when the elevation of a wastewater source is not sufficient for gravity flow, or when the use of gravity flow would be disadvantageous (often due to the high costs associated with excavation). Due to the heavy FOG content of the wastewater from the aforementioned nearby restaurant, this particular lift station held hundreds of pounds of grease. The surface area at the top of the lift station was almost entirely covered with grease balls, and the station had developed a problematic grease “crust.” In fact, the lift station had to be physically scraped out every other month in order to continue operating successfully.

    At the beginning of our 8-week trial, a 5-pound Moderate Release FOG Block was suspended with a rope in the manhole of the lift station. Though the dissolution rate of these solid blocks varies with temperature, flow, and grease content of the environment in which they are placed, this particular product is designed to dissolve gradually over the course of 30 days in average conditions. Halfway through our trial, after the first block had dissolved over a period of 4 weeks, another 5-pound block was suspended in the manhole. In this way, billions of beneficial bacteria were continually and consistently delivered over the trial’s entire 2 months.

    Picture1
    Week 1 of treatment

    Fats, oils, and greases are triglycerides (also known as lipids), so called due to their chemical composition; each FOG molecule is comprised of a glycerol “head” and three fatty acid “tails.” These molecules attach to each other until something disrupts the process. Many common FOG treatments involve raising the temperature to “melt” or using solvents and surfactants to “dissolve” a group of attached triglycerides. Although these treatments are successful in breaking apart the group of molecules, the effects are temporary, because the molecules are free to reattach further downstream once the temperature returns to normal or the chemical wears off.

    The enzyme lipase, on the other hand, breaks apart individual FOG molecules into their composing chemical parts, so that each of the three tails and the head of each molecule are all separated from one another. Once separated, there is no way for glycerol or fatty acids to attach themselves to other grease molecules, and it is in this separated state that the chemical components are digested by the very bacteria that produced the lipase. The specific Bacillus strains contained in all of EnviroZyme’s FOG Blocks (Slow, Moderate, and Rapid Release) are selected for the FOG-attacking enzymes they produce, particularly lipase.

    This is why, after 2 weeks of treatment, when the first biological block had been halfway dissolved, the FOG balls present at the top of the restaurant’s lift station had already been reduced by about 50%, and  there was, furthermore, no additional FOG crusting around the side walls.

    Picture2
    Week 2 of treatment

    At the end of the 8-week trial, despite continued FOG loading from the restaurant’s wastes during the busiest time of the season and without a single pump-out, the results were astounding. The grease balls had decreased substantially in both size and number, so that only about 15% of the surface area was covered. The crusting on the walls, which had been expected to double, did not accumulate further at all.

    Picture3
    Week 8 of treatment

    As evidenced by the photographs, the use of EnviroZyme’s Moderate Release FOG Block resulted in significant reduction in FOG, and the overall quality of the lift station’s condition was much improved, including a lower risk of blockages. Because the individual FOG molecules were broken down and digested by the bacteria, as opposed to temporary disbandment of the larger group of FOG molecules, the lowered risk of blockages extended to the entire wastewater system. The physical labor costs associated with manual cleanouts of the restaurant’s lift station decreased substantially, as did grease disposal costs.

    Are you interested in achieving similar results for a lift station, interceptor, sewer, drain, sump, grease trap, reclamation system, or holding tank? Contact us by filling out the form here or call 1-800-232-2847 to speak with an EnviroZyme representative today.

  • Pond Trial Demonstrates Successful Water Clarification with EnviroZyme®

    Sep 20, 2019

    Water Splash

    EnviroZyme® conducted a summer pond trial in Northern California in order to study organic reduction and water clarification resulting from treatment with bacteria, specifically with our Biological Pond Treatment product. The 75-acre pond—located outside of the river club for community residents—had been experiencing high organic levels that seemed to be increasing each year.

    Before Treatment
    Before treatment

    In addition to the visible algae growth on the surface of the water, the pond used in the trial also had significant sludge beneath the surface. Sludge is an accumulation of organic matter that settles at the bottom of a pond or other body of water. This organic matter can include decaying plant debris, fish waste, and debris from outside washed in by rainwater, but the largest contributor to accelerated accrual of sludge is dead algae. In fact, a different pond in this same community became so overwrought with algae and resultant sludge buildup that it had to be dredged a few years prior to our trial, costing the community around $90,000.

    In our 8-week trial, quarter-pound water-soluble pouches containing spray dried, dormant bacteria were tossed from the bank of the pond into the water. On day 1 of the trial, a 150-pound shock dosage was delivered, followed by a two-week no-dose period. During weeks 4–7, a 100-pound weekly dosage was delivered, and on week 8, a 50-pound dosage. In general, dosage will depend on factors unique to each body of water, including the depth, length, width, and severity of organic levels. EnviroZyme representatives are available for consultation when determining individual dosage rates.

    The water-soluble pouches began to break down and release bacteria in just a matter of seconds, at which time the nutrients in the pond activated the metabolism of the bacteria, causing them to become vegetative. Contrary to its connotation in the medical field, a “vegetative” state in biology is an active state in which the bacteria are producing enzymes, consuming organic material, and reproducing.

    Before Treatment Before treatment
    After 4 weeks of treatment

    The bacteria contained in the pouches and their offspring secreted targeted enzymes to break down the types of organic matter contained in the sludge in the lower layer into a digestible state, before proceeding to ingest and digest it. The specific strains of bacteria contained in the Biological Pond Treatment, as well as the specific strains in all of EnviroZyme’s products, are selected deliberately with consideration to the specific enzymes they produce and the intended application. This process of utilizing bacteria to remove compounds—including plant-based cellulose—that become detrimental when allowed to accumulate is otherwise known as biological remediation.

    After 8 Weeks
    After 8 weeks of treatment
    .

    As the bacteria consumed the organic matter contained in the excess sludge, that layer was gradually reduced to acceptable and expected levels, leading to a reduction of the unpleasant odors associated with decaying organic material, too. As the bacteria consumed the organic nutrients that also fed the algae, the algae were starved through competitive exclusion.

    As one can see based on the photos above, after just 8 weeks of treatment, surface algae had almost completely disappeared and the overall water clarity was much improved. Overall organic levels of the pond, including sludge, had been dramatically reduced. Residents commented that the water quality is the best they could remember seeing in many years, and they were very enthusiastic to treat the remaining ponds around their river club.

    Are you interested in achieving similar results for your pond or other body of water? Contact us today by filling out the form here or call 1-800-232-2847 to speak with a representative.

  • Wastewater and the Septic System

    Aug 20, 2019

    8ecb8b5c10a19ccbe1daba7bc38ec77cw-c314369xd-w685_h860_q80

    What is a septic tank?
    For the 20% of American households and institutions that are not hooked up to a sewer system, everything that goes down any of the drains (toilets, showers, sinks, laundry machines) travels first to the septic tank. The septic tank is a large-volume, watertight tank that provides initial treatment of wastewater by intercepting solids and settleable organic matter before disposal of the wastewater (effluent) to the drainfield.

    While relatively simple in construction and operation, the septic tank provides a number of important functions through a complex interaction of physical and biological processes.
    septic tank

    What does a septic tank do?
    The essential functions of the septic tank are to:
    • Receive all wastewater from the house or institution
    • Separate solids from the wastewater flow
    • Cause reduction and decomposition of accumulated solids
    • Provide storage for the separated solids (sludge and scum)
    • Pass the clarified wastewater (effluent) out to the drainfield for final treatment and disposal

    The septic tank provides a relatively quiescent body of water where the wastewater is retained long enough to let the solids separate by both settling and flotation. This process is often called primary treatment and results in three products: scum, sludge, and effluent.

    Scum: Substances lighter than water (oil, grease, fats) float to the top, where they form a scum layer. This scum layer floats on top of the water surface in the tank. Aerobic bacteria work at digesting floating solids.

    Sludge: The "sinkable" solids (soil, grit, bones, unconsumed food particles) settle to the bottom of the tank and form a sludge layer. The sludge is denser than water and fluid in nature, so it forms a flat layer along the tank bottom. Underwater anaerobic bacteria consume organic materials in the sludge, giving off gases in the process and then, as they die off, become part of the sludge.

    Effluent: Effluent is the clarified wastewater left over after the scum has floated to the top and the sludge has settled to the bottom. It is the clarified liquid between scum and sludge. It flows through the septic tank outlet into the drainfield.

    The floating scum layer on top and the sludge layer on the bottom take up a certain amount of the total volume in the tank.  The effective volume is the liquid volume in the clear space between the scum and sludge layers. This is where the active solids separation occurs as the wastewater sits in the tank.

    How long must liquids remain in the septic tank?
    In order for adequate separation of solids to occur, the wastewater needs to sit long enough in the quiescent conditions of the tank. The time the water spends in the tank, on its way from inlet to outlet, is known as the retention time. The retention time is a function of the effective volume and the daily wastewater flow rate:
    Retention Time (days) = Effective Volume (gallons)/Flow Rate (gallons per day)

    A common design rule is for a tank to provide a minimum retention time of at least 24 hours, during which one-half to two-thirds of the tank volume is taken up by sludge and scum storage. Note that this is a minimum retention time, under conditions with a lot of accumulated solids in the tank. Under ordinary conditions (i.e., with routine maintenance pumping), a tank should be able to provide two to three days of retention time.  As sludge and scum accumulate and take up more volume in the tank, the effective volume is gradually reduced, which results in a reduced retention time. If this process continues unchecked—if the accumulated solids are not cleaned out (pumped) often enough—wastewater will not spend enough time in the tank for adequate separation of solids, and solids may flow out of the tank with the effluent into the drainfield.  This can result in clogged pipes and gravel in the drainfield, one of the most common causes of septic system failure, and also in pathogenic bacteria and dissolved organic pollution.

    In order to avoid frequent removal of accumulated solids, the septic tank is (hopefully) designed with ample volume so that sludge and scum can be stored in the tank for an extended period of time.  A general design rule is that one-half to two-thirds of the tank volume is reserved for sludge and scum accumulation. A properly designed and used septic system should have the capacity to store solids for about five years or more. However, the rate of solids accumulation varies greatly from one case to another, and actual storage time can only be determined by routine septic tank inspections.

    How do bacteria fit in?
    While fresh solids are continually added to the scum and sludge layers, anaerobic bacteria (bacteria that live without oxygen) consume the organic material in the solids. The by-products of this decomposition are soluble compounds, which are carried away in the liquid effluent, and various gases, which are vented out of the tank via the inlet pipe that ties into the building plumbing air vent system.  Anaerobic decomposition results in a slow reduction of the volume of accumulated solids in the septic tank. This occurs primarily in the sludge layer but also, to a lesser degree, in the scum layer. The volume of the sludge layer is also reduced by compaction of the older, underlying sludge.  While a certain amount of volume reduction occurs over time, sludge and scum layers gradually build up in the tank and eventually must be pumped out.

    EnviroZyme’s Concentrated Grease Control 10X and Septic Treatment products can be used if the effective volume and/or retention time of a septic tank is not great enough to prevent non-clarified wastewater from flowing through the outlet. The bacteria in these products will raise the total plate count, and consumption of the organic compounds in the sludge and scum layers will accelerate as a result. This effectively reduces those layers and the frequency with which a septic tank needs to be pumped out.

    aquarium

    In an experiment, we set up two aquariums with fresh food that approximated the sugar/starch/protein/oil ratios found in the US diet and treated one but not the other with Septic Treatment. As expected, we documented a higher total plate count in the treated tank, noting that after about 45 days, the total plate counts in both sides returned to the same level.  This was because natural wastewater has bacteria in it already, and they eventually resumed dominance in the biomass. This time line indicates a monthly treatment program for best results.

    septic care performance 1
    (click to enlarge)

    We also measured the carbonaceous biological oxygen demand (cBOD) in the clear liquid portion of each tank, about 10 inches below the surface.  Both tanks showed a decrease over time because we were not adding ‘new’ food after the initial charge, but the treated tank showed a 36% reduction in cBOD compared to the control. This means that, once treated, a septic tank’s effluent will also reduce the amount of dissolved organic pollution entering the environment.

    septic care performance
    (click to enlarge)

    Interested in finding out more about how our bacteria can help? Contact customer service by filling out the form here or call 1-800-232-2847.

  • Water Pollution, Part 3: Agricultural Runoff

    Jul 26, 2019

    Agriculture

    Agriculture and Fertilizers
    Agriculture helped give rise to civilization itself and for 2,000 years, the cultivation of crops has kept humankind alive and nourished. Improvements in technology and techniques have greatly increased crop yields, including the use of fertilizers. The widespread use of manufactured fertilizers in more recent history, however, has disturbed the environment, and the contamination of water supplies by these chemicals looms large as a direct threat to us and to other species.

    According to the United States EPA, agriculture is the nation’s leading cause of impaired water quality. While industrial and municipal wastewater management is highly regulated and generally very effective at removing nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous from water leaving food factories, our homes, etc., farm runoff is not regulated at present and is the largest source of nutrient loading in our waterways.

    The Consequences of Nutrient Loading
    Nitrogen serves as food and is considered the most important nutrient for plants; phosphorous is required for normal development and the use and storage of energy; potassium protects the plant from disease and adverse conditions. All three are essential for life and are absorbed by plants (via their roots) from the soil. As the 3 most essential nutrients to plants, they are of course the 3 main nutrients in fertilizer—often referred to as NPK—used when the soil is deficient. When fertilizing compounds are applied too heavily for fields to absorb them, they will run off and end up in our lakes, streams, and rivers. 

    Bloom

    Dead Fish

    In much the same way that it fertilizes land plants, if allowed to enter our water system, NPK fertilizes aquatic plants (like duckweed) and algae, often resulting in the proliferation of problematic amounts. For algae, this is commonly referred to as an algal bloom. When the plants that constitute these overgrowths die and decay, they are biodegraded by bacteria, which depletes oxygen in the water. As a result of reduced oxygen levels, marine life dies and the door is opened to new species invasion, both of which decrease biodiversity and cause significant harm. If, in an algal bloom, the strains produce toxins, the problem is further reaching, and toxicity can climb its way up the food chain. For humans, the water becomes non-potable and may become unfit even for recreation.

    Forging Solutions and How We Fit in
    Biotechnology in agriculture is an exciting application, one that is attracting investment by industrial and academic research centers to ensure clean and safe water. EnviroZyme® currently has customers that are utilizing our microorganisms in agriculture to displace or reduce the need for traditional fertilizers and pesticides. Bacteria can also be used to convert the nitrogen in the air into a nutrient source for row crops, decreasing the nutrient loads in the fields and reducing runoff.

    microbiologist

    Possible applications include treating contaminated waterways in the same manner that decorative ponds, storm water systems, and municipal lagoons are treated today. With competitive exclusion, beneficial bacteria consume excess nutrients, so they cannot be consumed by harmful plants and algae, effectively “starving” them. Another possibility is the use of one or more bacterial strains to inhibit the formation of toxic strains, or to consume or metabolically modify the toxins they produce.

    Kids Drinking

    The entire EnviroZyme team places the utmost value and focus on developing solutions to meet the needs of a growing population while protecting our environment for future generations, and we are proud to serve the agricultural industry in service of this goal.

    Interested in finding out more about how our bacteria can help? Contact customer service by filling out the form here or call 1-800-232-2847.

  • EnviroZyme® Is Now ISO 9001:2015 Certified!

    Jun 13, 2019

    ISO_9001-2015

    Recently, EnviroZyme® achieved our ISO 9001:2015 certification following an intensive registration process and audit. This momentous achievement is a direct reflection of our relentless commitment to our customers in providing them with biological products and services of the highest possible quality, reliability, and safety.

    What is ISO?

    ISO stands for the International Organization for Standardization. It is an independent, non-governmental organization that develops and publishes “voluntary, consensus-based, market relevant International Standards that support innovation and provide solutions to global challenges.”

    ISO 9001 is the world’s most well-known quality management standard for companies and organizations of any size. While all ISO standards aim to ensure the safety, reliability, and quality of products and services provided—enhancing customer satisfaction as a result—ISO 9001:2015 also places particular emphasis on a process approach when developing, implementing, and improving the effectiveness of a quality management system.

    The quality management principles that guide ISO 9001:2015 certification are:

    • Customer Focus
    • Leadership
    • Engagement of People
    • Process Approach
    • Improvement
    • Evidence-Based Decision Making
    • Relationship Management

    Proving strict adherence to these principles and the resulting positive gains for quality, safety, reliability, and customer satisfaction was not an easy feat. From overhauling protocols in the environment for the operation of processes to producing extensive documented information, from monitoring and measuring resources to instituting and conducting process analyses, countless internal strides were taken over the course of months in preparation. After a successful audit, we were registered under ISO 9001:2015.

    What Does Certification Mean for You and Our Customers?

    In order to fulfill our mission of being a global leader in microbial fermentation, manufacturing, and packaging, we here at EnviroZyme® place the utmost value on the quality of the biological products and services that we provide to our customers. ISO Certification places us among the best-ranking and most reputable organizations in their respective industries.

    As evidenced by our ISO 9001:2015 achievement, we recognize the importance of and have invested heavily in the continual improvement of the quality systems that guarantee product consistency, product quality, and complete customer satisfaction. When you choose EnviroZyme, you can rest assured that you have selected a company that puts the customer first.

    Whether liquid, powder, or solid form, whether for waste water treatment, soil remediation, probiotics, or hard surface cleaning, you can trust that each and every biological product and service from EnviroZyme will perform as or better than promised, each and every time.

  • Water Pollution, Part 2: Household Wastewater Treatment

    May 10, 2019

    Wastewater Treatment

    The Water Used in Our Homes
    Our last blog post examined water pollution as a result of specialization in industry, specifically in the food industry. For many of the same reasons that food production is concentrated into large, specialized factories, people tend to congregate in large cities. When people live closely together, they enjoy benefits such as near proximity to jobs, food, healthcare, and entertainment.

    Unfortunately, high population density areas are accompanied by high concentrations of water contaminants. Beyond elevated levels of industry in high population density areas, one very significant source of water pollution in urban—and to a somewhat lesser degree suburban—areas is our homes.

    From kitchens to bathrooms to laundry rooms, we use water for many things in our homes. In almost all cases, we add suspended or dissolved solids to the water before sending it to the drain. Examples include soap and soils from our laundry washing machines, shampoo and soils from our shower, and soap and food from dishwashers. As can be seen from this water use pie chart, about 80% of the water we purchase is loaded to some degree with solids while we use it, and then it is sent down the drain. Because these solids can harm plants and animals, and because they eventually end up in our drinking water, they must be removed by wastewater treatment plants.

    oneWater_piegraph_and_data
    Graphic courtesy of jea.com.

    The Water Leaving Our Homes
    For approximately 80% of Americans, wastewater is flushed through your home’s pipes until it reaches a local sewer main. Through a combination of gravity and the use of grinder-pumps and/or lift stations, wastewater flows into progressively larger pipes until it reaches a treatment plant.

    sewer-pumps
    Grinder-pumps or lift stations may be used when gravity will not suffice to move wastewater.

    Both treatment plants and sewer systems themselves are owned and operated by city and town sewer departments.

    At the Wastewater Treatment Plant
    Once at the wastewater treatment plant, wastewater goes through one or more stages of treatment, depending on the particular plant. At the beginning of the process, during pretreatment, large objects and sometimes grit are removed from the wastewater before it proceeds.

    sewer-screen
    Screens help remove large objects during pretreatment.

    Primary Treatment
    The first stage, primary treatment, consists of water sitting in tanks, also known as clarifiers, until solids settle out as sludge and sink to the bottom, and grease and oils rise to the top. Both the sludge and the grease and oils are collected and disposed of. Primary treatment removes up to 60% of solids but very few toxic chemicals.

    sewer-primary
    Water sits in tanks, or clarifiers, during primary treatment.

    Secondary Treatment
    At most facilities in the U.S., wastewater will go on to secondary treatment. During secondary treatment, bacteria consume the remaining, smaller organic materials in aerated tanks. The secondary treatment system is also known as the activated sludge system, aeration basin, or oxidation ditch.

    sewer-aerate
    Aeration in tanks assists bacteria with digestion of organic materials.

    Federal regulations require removal of 85% or more of the suspended solids and biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) during secondary treatment. A significant proportion of toxic chemicals are also removed during this process. After secondary treatment, the water often (but not always) flows to clarifiers to sit again, but this time until the bacteria settle out.

    sewer-secondary
    Bacteria often settle out in a secondary clarifier.

    The beauty of microbiological treatment is that the bacteria, once they eat the organic matter, internalize the dissolved solids and are big enough to coagulate and flocculate in the clarifier. Otherwise, dissolved solids would remain in wastewater indefinitely, as it is not possible for them to settle out independently.

    Tertiary Treatment
    At more sophisticated treatment plants, wastewater will go on to tertiary treatment, which removes nitrogen, phosphorous, and/or other residual matter to further improve the effluent quality. The methods employed in tertiary treatment vary widely and can include the use of chemicals, synthetic membranes, filter beds, etc.

    sewer-final
    Tertiary treatment in Libertyville, IL.

    Chlorination
    If wastewater is chlorinated or otherwise disinfected before discharge, that always occurs last, regardless of which stage treatment ends with. Not all wastewater is disinfected, and not all wastewater is treated beyond the first stage.

    sewer-chlorination
    Chlorination in a tank is always the last step before discharge.

    How We Fit in
    EnviroZyme is proud to offer solutions in the form of various microbial products and technical support to help city and town wastewater treatment plants facilitate more effective and efficient secondary and tertiary treatment.

    During secondary treatment, adding more bacteria that are specifically selected for their ability to consume fats, oil, grease, protein, sugar, carbohydrates, and cellulose helps the wastewater treatment plant operator meet their pollution reduction objectives. By increasing the number of bacteria through the addition of products like WWT 5B Brown, WWT 2B Blue, WWT 2B Brown, and WWT 5B Blue, we alter the food-to-mass ratio in a way that more food is consumed.

    Our nitrifier product line, based on Nitrosomonas and Nitrobacter strains, can assist with the conversion of ammonia to nitrite and nitrate. This conversion is a necessary precursor for the conversion of dissolved nitrogen solids over to nitrogen gas, which evaporates. The conversion of dissolved nitrogen solids (e.g. nitrite and nitrate) to nitrogen gas (N2) is called denitrification and occurs in tertiary treatment. We can assist our customers with their management of dissolved nitrogen pollutants with products such as Ammonia Reducer NH3 and Ammonia Reducer NS.

    Photographs courtesy of photos.innersource.com.

  • Water Pollution, Part 1: Specialization in the Food Industry

    Apr 04, 2019

    Food Factory

    In modern food factories, foodstuffs are processed at staggering paces: 120 birds per minute at Tyson, 500,000 pizzas per day at Tombstone, 90,000 hogs per week at Smithfield.  

    The undeniable efficiency of these companies and countless others is a direct result of specialization within the food industry; indeed, production processes have been increasingly concentrated into relatively small locations since the invention of canning and the subsequent proliferation of large-scale food production during the 19th century. By utilizing the same or similar raw materials to make large quantities of a single finished product, producers realize lower production costs per unit, and the consumer enjoys lower prices.

    For all the economic benefits, however, the concentration of production processes inherently leads to concentration of the by-products of food processing, which are released from food factories into the environment through various pathways. Because these releases can contain components that are detrimental to the health of factories’ immediate surroundings and the health of the globe as a whole, they are generally regarded as pollutants and are subject to regulations administered by the EPA and other more localized agencies.

    One such pathway for the release of detrimental by-products is wastewater, of which enormous amounts are generated through food processing in particular. Two regulated and commonly elevated metrics of wastewater discharged from food factories are biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) and total suspended solids (TSS). BOD refers to the amount of dissolved oxygen that must be present for microorganisms to decompose organic matter in the water, while TSS refers to the weight of solids in water that could be captured by filtering. If left untreated, wastewater with high levels of BOD and TSS will wreak havoc on the environment by lowering oxygen levels to the point of eutrophication, for example, which can kill aquatic life including fish, amphibians, and plants.

    To avoid the negative environmental outcomes associated with BOD, TSS, and other elements of wastewater that are compounded by industrial specialization, the EPA requires municipalities and industrial sites to treat their wastewater prior to discharge into a receiving stream. BOD and TSS from food factories, in particular, are best treated with the introduction of targeted microorganisms. EnviroZyme is proud to serve this industry by providing high-quality microbial products and application expertise, helping meet or exceed standards set forth by water authorities and furthering progress toward the national goal established by the Clean Water Act of “eliminating the discharge of all pollutants.”

  • Enzymes vs. Bacteria, Unmuddying the Waters

    Mar 20, 2019

    Bacteria vs. Enzymes

    What Are Enzymes?
    Enzymes are large molecules, mostly proteins, that speed up chemical reactions. Scientists have determined that enzymes are able to catalyze, or speed up, over 5,000 specific chemical reactions.

    Appropriately, the substances on which enzymes act are called “substrates,” and the molecules produced as a result are called “products.” Which substrate an enzyme acts on is dependent upon the unique three-dimensional shape of each enzyme.

     Substrate  Enzyme
     Fat, Oil, Grease  Lipase
     Paper  Cellulase
     Starch  Amylase
     Protein  Protease






    Enzymes are not living organisms, but they are produced by cells in living organisms in order to help convert food to energy, build compounds, or remove wastes quickly enough to sustain life.

    Enzymes and Bacteria

    Bacteria are one-celled organisms that require food (and the vitamins therein), oxygen, water, and appropriate temperatures in order to survive, just like humans. Different bacterial strains will produce different amounts and types of enzymes in order to speed up the break down of complex substrates, and then consume the smaller, simpler products as food.

    If bacteria did not create enzymes, complex substrates would take too long to disintegrate into consumable products, and the bacteria would not be able to eat enough in a short enough period of time to survive and reproduce.

    Bacteria and Waste

    The complex substrates that enzymes act on and bacteria then consume include waste compounds that pollute the environment, such as those listed in the table above. Even substrates that sound relatively harmless, like starch, can and do wreak havoc on the planet and its inhabitants.

    Biological remediation is a process through which safe bacteria are selected for the enzymes they produce and are purposefully introduced in a given location in order to remove a specific harmful waste. During this process, bacteria and enzymes work hand-in-hand, and the byproducts of digestion are more bacteria, water, and carbon dioxide, which are natural and inherently harmless. The bacteria continue to reproduce until the bacteria’s food is eliminated.

    bacteria enzymes waste

    EnviroZyme is proud to pave the way to a more sustainable future by providing products that facilitate biological remediation. In addition to more than 20 off-the-shelf bacterial strains, we are also able to custom ferment bacterial strains to suit individual waste-elimination needs.

  • Taking Quality to the Highest Level: Our Zero-Defects Policy

    Jan 18, 2019

    Blog-Image_Zero-Defect

    We strive to create a Zero-Defect product and believe that truly sustainable solutions need to be created right the first time. Our Zero-Defects Policy implements real solutions to make that happen.

    When we say that it’s the EnviroZyme mission to deliver higher standards, we’re not kidding. In fact, we strive to create a Zero-Defect product for our customers. We believe that truly sustainable solutions need to be created right the first time. That’s why we invest in up-front quality control measures.

    While some choose to believe that mistakes are inevitable, we choose to believe that perfection is not only possible but also required, given the importance of what we produce and the importance of our customers. Our Zero-Defects Policy implements real solutions to make that happen. For example,

    • We test for several pathogenic bacteria.
    • We maintain retain samples to ensure we constantly monitor stability.
    • We make sure every step is documented and checked over by management prior to release.

    We believe in four basic principles:

    1. Quality is conformance to requirements.
    2. Defect prevention is preferable to quality inspection and correction.
    3. Zero Defects is the quality standard.
    4. Quality is measured in monetary terms — the Price of Nonconformance.

    EnviroZyme’s commitment starts with our new state-of-the-art facility, and it continues through release. Each EnviroZyme process is deliberate, designed to trace each defect back to its root cause. Each cause is then prevented. We operate a multi-stage quality control plan. Via a thorough screening against pathogenic bacteria, our quality control process then ensures that no strain goes untested and no defect goes untraced. It ensures our customers know they’re getting the highest quality strain available.

    EnviroZyme’s facility also has a very meticulous HAACP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) plan, and adheres to the US Food and Drug Administration’s cGMP (Current Good Manufacturing Practices) standards.

    As you can see, EnviroZyme and quality are synonymous because our customers are more than customers. They’re partners. The EnviroZyme commitment allows our customers to enjoy peace of mind, knowing they’re in trusted hands. From our agriculture to our wastewater treatment, from our janitorial and sanitary products to our custom designed biologicals, EnviroZyme strives to set a higher standard.

  • Why It’s Good to be Compliant. cGMP Compliant.

    Dec 15, 2018

    Blog-Image_cGMP

     

    We’re proud to be cGMP compliant. From our growth conditions to the strain production, our specialized teams follow protocols that ensure a quality product for every customer, every time.

    EnviroZyme’s mission is to set a higher standard — we’re committed to ensuring the products that bear the EnviroZyme name are the very best. From our growth conditions to the strain production, our specialized teams follow protocols that ensure a quality product for every customer, every time. But you don’t have to simply take our word for it. We’re cGMP compliant.

    What is cGMP?

    cGMP stands for Current Good Manufacturing Practices and is regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration as the main standard for manufacturing microbial biosolutions. Because it’s well-known, it’s one of the certifications that give our customers peace of mind. They can be assured that every EnviroZyme process is properly documented, designed, monitored and controlled. Giving our customers that peace of mind is vital to EnviroZyme’s mission of delivering a higher standard.

    To be compliant, our equipment must be up-to-date, our staff highly trained and qualified, and our processes reliable and reproducible.

    We must establish

    • Strong quality management systems
    • Obtain appropriate quality raw materials
    • Establish robust operating procedures
    • Detect and investigate product quality deviations
    • Maintain reliable testing laboratories

    For an in-depth explanation of regulations, please click here.

    Why is cGMP important?

    Before we can claim a higher standard, we have to start at the baseline. cGMP compliance is that established baseline. Having a third-party independent group inspect and test our operations not only keeps us compliant, but it also keeps us on the cutting-edge of innovation. Plus, cGMP compliance is well known and trusted to ensure consistency of the products – same process, same products, same results.

    While we create all biologicals at the highest possible standards, EnviroZyme services the agriculture, aquaculture and wastewater treatment industries. cGMP compliancy was developed to ensure biologicals are safe for use in our food and water. Every decision made reflects our mission of delivering products for our customers that meet a higher standard, the EnviroZyme standard.

    Why does EnviroZyme Value cGMP Compliance?

    EnviroZyme products are designed and literally grown to tackle some of the toughest cleaning, bioremediation, nutrient absorption and several other challenges. We strive to instill confidence in our customers with a consistent product they can trust and count on that’s supported by our processes and cGMP compliance. It’s our responsibility, and we take it seriously.

    EnviroZyme’s very existence relies upon creating highest quality biologicals, and cGMP compliancy is the first step in our ensuring that happens. But we take it even further, and we strive to create zero-defect products. Read more about that here.

  • At EnviroZyme, Quality Matters

    Oct 16, 2018

    Blog-Image_Quality-Matters

    Quality means we hold ourselves to a higher standard - it’s part of our mission. We produce biologicals that perform at optimal levels every time, because our customers’ needs are EnviroZyme needs.

    Quality is a word thrown around a lot by companies. After all, it’s important in all industries. But for EnviroZyme, it’s more than a buzzword — it’s part of our mission. We take it personally, considering it at every level.

     

    What does quality mean?

    For us, it means we hold ourselves to a higher standard. Ensuring our customers’ peace of mind is vital. From our state-of-the-art facility to our expert teams, from the complex fermentation process to individual customer projects, the EnviroZyme higher standard of quality is evident. We produce biologicals that perform at optimal levels every time, because our customers’ needs are EnviroZyme needs. Our custom fermentation processes are rooted in science and backed by our commitment to getting the job done right the first time.

    Our strain production delivers:

    • A product that targets specific problems
    • Correct bacteria counts
    • High-yielding bacterial performance
    • Consistency of bacterial growth

    Why is quality important?

    Our industry is unique in that it takes the very best of science and creates innovative solutions to solve the basic yet challenging need of cleaning in a way that doesn’t cause harm to the environment or to living creatures. Only a high-quality operation can deliver solutions that are effective. Only EnviroZyme strives for a higher standard, because every decision we make is driven by meeting the needs of our customers, ensuring we present them with the highest quality product available.

    We are compliant.

    To help ensure a higher standard of quality for our customers, EnviroZyme is Current Good Manufacturing Practices, or cGMP compliant. Regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration, cGMP compliancy is the main standard for manufacturing microbial biosolutions. To be compliant, our equipment must be properly validated, our staff highly trained and qualified, and our processes reliable and reproducible. Learn more about cGMP here.

    Just the beginning.

    We don’t stop at compliancy, though. We’re committed to setting a higher standard and producing the highest quality biologicals. In fact, we strive for zero-defect.

  • Aiming for Zero-Defect

    Aug 28, 2018

    Blog-Image_Aiming-for-Zero

    We know the products we create affect our customers end results. That’s why we hold ourselves to a higher standard, taking pride in our mission to develop products at the highest quality possible.

    In every industry, defects cost time, money and quality. In the world of fermentation and microbial solutions, even the smallest defect can be the difference between a prosperous crop and a field of spoiled product. That's where EnviroZyme comes into play.

     

    We know the products we create affect our customers end results and the work they do every day. That's why we hold ourselves to a higher standard, taking pride in our mission to develop environmentally friendly products at the highest quality possible. It's engrained in who we are as a company and what we stand for.

    We take defect prevention for quality biosolutions seriously and believe that it all starts with the fermenter grower. That's what makes EnviroZyme unique: we start the process by growing our own strains.

    From the very beginning to the very end, EnviroZyme controls the microbial fermentation process. It’s who we are and it’s what we do. No strain goes untested and no defect goes untraced. Our commitment to quality and strive for a zero-defect product is what drives our processes forward – producing the very best biosolutions.

    What does a quality process include?
    At EnviroZyme, quality biosolutions start at the very beginning - growing. Each strain is tested using 16s or genomic sequencing. We streak each seed out on multiple plates to ensure that there are no hidden contaminants.

    From there, we transfer bacteria cultures to pre-sterilized flasks to inoculate pre-sterilized fermenters.

    During fermentation, EnviroZyme controls the pH, DO, agitation and air flow. Once fermentation is complete, we pasteurize the bacteria culture and send it through a centrifuge, which is a machine that rapidly rotates its contents to spin out the water.

    EnviroZyme then dries the spore slurry and runs it through a series of Quality Control tests including:

    • Spore counts
    • Tests against pathogenic bacteria

    How is quality ensured?
    EnviroZyme documents each and every step per current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) standards. This not only holds EnviroZyme accountable and compliant, but instills confidence in our customers that they are receiving a consistent and reliable product. Our meticulous process is tedious, but it holds us to a higher standard and ensures that we are providing the highest quality products to our customers every single time.

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