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Abstract

Monitoring of activated sludge flocs may provide important information for effective operation and control of wastewater treatment. The research objective is to demonstrate methodology for activated sludge image processing aimed to describe morphological characteristics of activated sludge flocs. The proposed software- -based method was presented and verified by analysis of several activated sludge samples. The results show high efficiency of image segmentation and floc recognition of more than 94% floc components. The analysis of a series of 50 pictures gives rapid and reliable results and can be performed in an automatic or semiautomatic mode. Given inherent heterogeneity of activated sludge flocs, multiple and repeated sample images capture (processing of 50 pictures at a time, repeated at least 4 times ) is recommended.
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Abstract

Heavy metal pollution of soil is a significant environmental problem and has a negative impact on human health and agriculture. Phytoremediation can be an alternative environmental treatment technology, using the natural ability of plants to take up and accumulate pollutants or transform them. Proper development of plants in contaminated areas (e.g. heavy metals) requires them to generate the appropriate protective mechanisms against the toxic effects of these pollutants. This paper presents an overview of the physiological mechanisms of stress avoidance and tolerance by plants used in phytoremediation of heavy metals.
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Abstract

Antibiotics are a group of substances potentially harmful to the environment. They can play a role in bacterial resistance transfer among pathogenic and non-pathogenic bacteria. In this experiment three representatives of medically important chemotherapeutics, confirmed to be present in high concentrations in wastewater treatment plants with HPLC analysis were used: erythromycin, sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim. Erythromycin concentration in activated sludge was not higher than 20 ng L−1. N-acetylo-sulfamethoxazole concentration was 3349 ± 719 in winter and 2933 ± 429 ng L−1 in summer. Trimethoprim was present in wastewater at concentrations 400 ± 22 and 364 ± 60 ng L−1, respectively in winter and summer. Due to a wide variety of PCR-detectable resistance mechanisms towards these substances, the most common found in literature was chosen. For erythromycin: erm and mef genes, for sulfamethoxazole: sul1, sul2, sul3 genes, in the case of trimethoprim resistance dhfrA1 and dhfr14 were used in this study. The presence of resistance genes were analyzed in pure strains isolated from activated sludge and in the activated sludge sample itself. The research revealed that the value of minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) did not correspond with the expected presence of more than one resistance mechanisms. Most of the isolates possessed only one of the genes responsible for a particular chemotherapeutic resistance. It was confirmed that it is possible to monitor the presence of resistance genes directly in activated sludge using PCR. Due to the limited isolates number used in the experiment these results should be regarded as preliminary.
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Abstract

The paper deals with the problem of the determination of the effects of temperature on the efficiency of the nitrification process of industrial wastewater, as well as its toxicity to the test organisms. The study on nitrification efficiency was performed using wastewater from one of Polish chemical factories. The chemical factory produces nitrogen fertilizers and various chemicals. The investigated wastewater was taken from the influent to the industrial mechanical-biological wastewater treatment plant (WWTP). The WWTP guaranteed high removal efficiency of organic compounds defined as chemical oxygen demand (COD) but periodical failure of nitrification performance was noted in last years of the WWTP operation. The research aim was to establish the cause of recurring failures of nitrification process in the above mentioned WWTP. The tested wastewater was not acutely toxic to activated sludge microorganisms. However, the wastewater was genotoxic to activated sludge microorganisms and the genotoxicity was greater in winter than in spring time. Analysis of almost 3 years’ period of the WWTP operation data and laboratory batch tests showed that activated sludge from the WWTP under study is very sensitive to temperature changes and the nitrification efficiency collapses rapidly under 16°C. Additionally, it was calculated that in order to provide the stable nitrification, in winter period the sludge age (SRT) in the WWTP should be higher than 35 days.
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