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Use of microbes in sewage treatment and sewerage system

Use of microbes in sewage treatment and maintenance of sewerage system has been evolved and portrayed as a promising option, and such products and services have been offered by many companies. In some technologies, along with naturally occurring bacteria, genetically modified bacteria are also used. Such services are for maintenance of sewage pipelines and sewage treatment infrastructure and also treating some of the pollution loads. All these technologies work on oil & grease trap, drain, septic tank to prevent clogging of drains and reduce the loads of BOD, TSS & FOG.

In this regard, I would like to get your inputs on the following:

  1. What are the broad safety and sustainability issues of such microbe-based technologies in wastewater treatment and viability & efficiency of these solutions?
  2. Your opinion about such particular technology
  3. Who are offering such reliable solutions in India?
  4. Cases of efficient use of such technology in India

Thanks & regards,


Arghyam, Bangalore



1. Dear Mrinalini, 1. Microbe

Dear Mrinalini,

1. Microbe are available in the atmosphere. However, in order to derive a seed culture, usually fresh cow dung or buffalo dung is employed which is a rich organic mixture full of bacterial mass. It is this culture which is allowed to grow and multiply. The safety issues regarding the handling of such a culture are rather minimal since organic dung is effectively handled even by human hands. Minimal protection and care are effective in the handling of cow dung. As to the sustanibility, it is one of the most effective and flexible technology available to date. However, it is being gradually replaced by some other technologies; namely Moving Bed Bio Recator (MBBR) and Membrane Bio Reactor (MBR) recently.
2. All technologies are essentially microbe based; howvere some application variations apply as in case of MBBR which is bio-filtration of sewage as well as MBR which is also a filtration although the medium for filtration in both cases is different. Whereas MBR employs a membrane for filtration, MBBR uses a PVC medium to achieve the same result.

3. Akar Impex is one such company that provides such a technology as the MBBR. Other names are Triveni Industries, Thermax, UEM etc.

4. Some of the prominent examples of MBBR are VIPUL BELMONTE at Gurgaon in Haryana state and MODY INSTITUTE at Laxmangarh, near Sikar in Rajasthan state.

With regards,

Taral Kumar
Executive Director
Akar Impex Pvt. Ltd.
Noida, Uttar Pradesh

2. Dear Mrinalini, Naturally

Dear Mrinalini,

Naturally occuring biomass in sewage is sufficient for its treatment. This is GOD's gift.

Use of genetically modified stuff claiming accelerated performance is neither needed nor safe because it can be another "biological warfare". Remember PL 480 programme of US in mid 1950s wherein they sowed the seeds of a thorny plant saying it will protect foodcrops from grazing by animals and today our wilderness is getting automatically and uncontrollable covered by these thorny bushes all over making it actually a menace to agriculture.


Dr. S. Sundaramoorthy
Technical Advisor (ex-Engineering Director of Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board)
Creative Environmental Consultants
Chennai, Madras


3. Use of Microbial Culture for Sewage / Effluent Treatment

Dear Mrinalini

It is wrong to say that Microbial culture available are necessarily genetically modified. They are natural soil borne microorganisms. The basic advantage in using these are to ensure that that population of microorganisms (which are much more effective than intrinsic ones) dominate the effluent, resulting far better bio degradation.

Such microorganisms that are provided in aqueous base are much more effective and faster than those which are cereal based. The population of the microbes exceeds 1 billion 'colony forming units' per liter. Tests have shown that in the presence of the cultured microorganisms the intrinsic bacteria tend to be non functional.

Moreover, the usual method to judge the population of microorganisms is to measure MLSS (which is to an extent faulty as it indicates microorganisms - dead or alive and organic suspended solids) or a slightly more accurate method of using MLVSS (which indicates a more accurate count but still consist of dead and alive microorganisms). The use of cultured microorganisms over come this issue.

Biotech Services in Noida can provide these cultures. Log on to for more information.


Keshav Agarwal

4. Hi Mrinalini, You may want to

Hi Mrinalini,

You may want to vsisit .Hope fully all your quesries and doubts would be sorted out here.


5. Sewage treatment using bioculture-product choice has to be good

Dear Mrinalini,

Yes there are lot of companies providing mechanical and biological solutions for treatment of sewage. I do not advocate using GMO for treatment of sewage. In fact all treatment plants are designed on a food to microorganism ratio but with the complexity of waste in terms of volumetric, organic and other shocks microbial population fall and operators resort to addition of nutrients to stabilise it. It is to be remembered that addition of nutrient only works when there is a deficiency of it else, N and P will show up at outlet.

It is to be noted that good microbes are in very less concentration in any treatment system and sometimes it lacks microbes for a targeted effluent. Hence generalising by use of dung/ intestinal bacteria does not become effective. People are resorting to cleaner technologies instead of using messy solutions.

There are lot of biocultures available in the market, that are non-pathogenic, non-GMO etc. but on closer study you will find these are in very low concentrations, choice of microbes are not good and there is usage of gram negative microbes. These microbes have an endoplasmic protein layer which when ruptured and if in contact with any wound or blood stream activates the immune system to release protective toxins. This is known as an endotoxic pyrogenic reaction and causes several diseases.

Hence the choice of product has to be good particularly stressing on aerobic and facultative gram positive organisms only and at very high concentrations in raw state only. Lot of companies ask you to grow on molasses etc. on site. But there are products which do not require any preactivation at all.

We are working with lot of private parties, NGOs and government bodies to provide sewage and other wastewater treatment solutions.

For further assistance please contact me at 9910170604.

Thanks and regards,

Chandan Mohanty
Technical Advisor
Amrit Clean Water Technologies, Pvt. Ltd.

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