The Role of Microorganisms in Wastewater Treatment

Upcoming dates (1)

Oct. 10-12, 2023

Madison, WI or Live Online

Course Overview

Course topics and features will include:

  • Managing your microbes – and understanding their needs
  • Bacteria, protozoa, metazoa
  • Floc formation
  • Providing the right environment
  • Selecting the winners and losers
  • Effects of temperature, mixing, nutrients, and dissolved oxygen
  • Effects of pH, alkalinity, and toxins
  • Managing and troubleshooting activated sludge processes
  • Filamentous organisms
  • Control of foam and scum
  • Exercises and microscope demonstrations

Who Should Attend?

  • Wastewater engineers, operators and managers
  • Consulting engineers
  • Federal agencies and military bases
  • Wastewater equipment manufacturers
  • Others interested in wastewater treatment

Course Outline

 Overview of Microorganisms

  • Physiology, growth and reproduction
  • Environmental factors and microbial ecology
  • Wastewater treatment and activated sludge


  • Shapes, types, sizes
  • Origin and growth
  • Autotrophs, heterotrophs
  • Aerobic, anaerobic, facultative bacteria

Protozoa, Rotifers, Nematodes

  • Populations in wastewater treatment
  • Environmental factors
  • Control strategies

 Filamentous Organisms

  • Viscous bulking, scum formation
  • Effects on activated sludge floc and settleability
  • Control strategies 

Activated Sludge Troubleshooting Workshop

  • Nitrification, denitrification, BNR
  • Microbe problem scenarios - and solutions
  • Examples, case studies

Working with Microscopes

  • Optical principles
  • Tips and procedures
  • Measuring and counting objects

Exercises, Discussions, and Demonstrations

Throughout the course, class exercises, discussions, and microscope demonstrations will be included, to help attendees learn and retain key points.


Steven Leach

Steven Leach is a senior staff scientist with Novozymes Biologicals, Inc. He has more than 30 years of experience with wastewater biology, including fermentation, filament identification, treatment process evaluation, and onsite analysis during upsets, chlorination, and recovery. He has worked on the installation and start-up of over 20 fixed-film reactors units throughout the country. Steve is widely recognized for his expertise in identifying filaments and protists. He has completed onsite visits to wastewater treatment plants throughout North and South America, Europe, and Asia.


Ron Schuyler

Ron Schuyler, PE, BCEE, WEF Fellow, CWP, is a nationally known microbiologist and engineer specializing in wastewater process troubleshooting, optimization, and activated sludge process control. He is the founder and owner of COWAC, and has more than 40 years of professional experience in this field. He is a Certified Water and Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator, and has helped many facilities achieve regulatory compliance while saving energy and minimizing costs. Mr. Schuyler was recently elected as a Fellow of the Water Environment Federation.


Upcoming dates (1)

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