Floc Analyses


Biological Products:

Bioaugmentation products for Wastewater applications in Papermills, Refineries, Chemical, Tanneries, Municipalities, Textiles, Steel, Agriculture, Animal feedlot,  Gun Powder plant, Food and Beverage- Dairy Products, Orange Juice factory, Wineries, Cookie factory, Vegetable processing plant, Meat packing, Barbecue Restaurant, Aquaculture, Ornamental Ponds for algae control, CAFO, Nursing homes, Military, Campgrounds, Universities, Regulatory agencies



Lab Services:

Filamentous Identification Lab Service. One reason to identify filaments is to determine the filaments characteristics and then determine the type present.  If the type is found out, a root cause can usually be associated with a particular filament.  If the cause is known, then a correction can be made to alleviate problems. Chlorination is only a quick fix.  Without process changes, filaments will grow back after chlorination.

Wastewater Biomass Analyses and Cooling Tower Analyses also available


Training Materials:

Training is an integral part of any job. Not everyone is at the same level of training. Many people want beginning concepts and basics. Some need technical information or troubleshooting. Some want equipment, technology or process information.

We have developed a full set of Basic training, Advanced training, Filamentous Identification the Easy Way as well as custom training CD's Manuals. We also provide hands-on training classes and soon will have an Online "E-University".


Audits and Consulting:

At Environmental Leverage® Inc., we have a team of experienced individuals who come into your plant with a fresh pair of eyes.  The system is checked from influent to effluent.  System optimization, equipment efficiency and operational excellence are key components explored. Key Benefits Equipment efficiency Total Cost of Operation reductions Reliability and safety

An onsite audit is conducted to examine system parameters, process controls, and current monitor and control procedures. A physical walk-through is conducted, process flow diagrams are examined, previous design criteria are examined and current standard operating procedures are evaluated along with data logs.




Troubleshooting -Floc analyses

What's New!

We have just added "Virtual Audits" to our capabilities. Check out our new Services.  We are in the process of developing an ""Online E-University" in order to meet the needs of our global customers that cannot travel to our public classes. Stay tuned for details and updates.

Ok, Everyone says I must look under the microscope at my Biomass and floc structures. What exactly am I looking for?


Here is a little basic information. A wastewater treatment plant is basically a bug factory. You are growing bacteria to clean the water. 90% of all the work that goes on in the secondary portion- i.e. the biological stage is the growth of a biomass to degrade organics and remove pollution is performed by single celled bacteria. The bacteria are really what you want to look at. The higher life forms are nice, they indicate the age and health of the biomass, but the bacteria are the actual workhorses of the system.

Ok, well that is great so what am I really looking at?

Bacteria can be single celled, floc forming or filamentous. All three types will degrade organics. Which type is the best for my system?

Single celled bacteria also provide a food source for higher life forms. Single celled bacteria can cause TSS problems though and will not settle out very well. They can increase polymer consumption.

Filamentous Bacteria are bacteria that grow in long thread-like strands or colonies. Some of the positive attributes of filaments are that they are very good BOD removers. They add a backbone or rigid support network to the floc structure. They help the floc structure to filter out fine particulate matter that will improve clarifier efficiency. They help the floc to settle if in small amounts. They can reduce the amount of "pin" floc.

Some of the negative aspects are that they can interfere with separation and compaction of activated sludge and cause bulking when predominant. They can affect the sludge volume index (SVI) and they can cause poor settling if dominant.


Floc forming bacteria are usually desired. Floc is a collection of smaller particles agglomerating into larger particles containing particulate matter, debris, bacteria and Bio-polymers. Some of the positive aspects of floc forming bacteria is that they settle out easily as solids, reduce the need for polymers in clarifiers and reduce consumption in dewatering applications. If the right type of biomass is developed, a reduction in solids handling can also be found. Some of the negative aspects are they can be hard to dewater if they have a high polysaccharide coating. They also can form very small pin floc if older or straggler floc if young which can contribute to TSS problems.

How can I monitor my wastewater bacteria? One way is to use the microscope. Some of the things typically checked for visually and monitored by qualitative and quantitative observations: Floc size, floc color, and clarity of water among floc, floc structure, and filamentous presence.
Recommended microscopic analysis consists of visual inspection and photomicrographs using a compound microscope at various magnifications and illuminations. Typical magnifications are 40x, 100x and 200x. The illuminations are Bright Field, Dark Field, and Phase Contrast. See training sheet on microscopic analyses, details, how to take good photomicrographs.


Floc Structures and Filaments

Because every wastewater treatment plant has a different bacterial population composing its biomass, a different type of influent, different pieces of equipment and different climates, the MLSS may have different floc structures. What may be considered good floc structures in one system may be poor floc structures in another wastewater treatment plant.
Nonetheless, some characteristics can be examined to determine relative floc condition. Generally, the more firm and compact a floc is, the better it will settle. The more lacy and dispersed a floc is, the less likely it will be to settle. The presence or absence of pin or straggler floc, which can be responsible for high-suspended solids (TSS) in wastewater, is also an important observation when examining floc structure. The presence of many filamentous bacteria is also examined to determine if filamentous bulking is responsible for poor settling.


Ok, I have everything ready, now what am I really looking for?microscope

First off, check to see if there are filaments present. Are they internal or external? What is the quantity? Ask for additional training sheet on filaments, what they mean and how to control them.


Ok now we are on to the Floc Structure part.

Is the Floc firm or compact? What does that mean? Is the floc going to stay together or will it shear easily due to flow, pumping or turbulence? Firm, well rounded, compact floc with clear water between particles? Are there lots of single celled bacteria or little floc structures that can cause TSS problems in your final effluent?


Some of the terms you will hear- Weak, Lacy, Open, Diffuse, Compact, Firm, Rounded

Most of these variations are shown in the slide show above. More details and hundreds of examples can be found in our Wastewater Microbiology CD. Wastewater Training


Is it lacy, open, diffuse or irregular? What do these terms look like and what do they indicate? Obviously lacy and open will resemble a doily similar to what your grandma used to have. The more open the floc is, the harder it will be to settle or dewater.


Floc Color is important also.   It indicates the age of the biomass. Clear indicates a very young biomass. Golden brown indicated a healthy floc. Black indicates the floc is turning anaerobic and running out of air or is older. Sometimes floc can be colored if the influent contains dyes. Usually this does not impact anything unless there are heavy metals or toxic compounds that will not pass a leach test when disposing of the solids.


Stay tuned for more photos on floc, filaments and microscopic analyses!

Floc Structures-Wastewater Training

More photos of floc

Higher Life forms


What if you do not have a lab or microscope onsite that is capable of performing an analyses of your wastewater treatment system?

Find out how Environmental Leverage's lab can perform an analyses of your biomass in your wastewater system and make recommendation on  how to improve your system.


Start your way now to a cleaner, brighter effluent with fewer hassles in your waste treatment plant.

Filamentous bulking vs. Zoogleal bulking

Wastewater Biomass Analyses Brochure

Additional training Materials

How are your bugs doing?

Filamentous Identification Training class

Filamentous Identification The Easy Way- Training program CD

Wastewater Biomass Analyses Brochure


The Most Comprehensive Filamentous Bacteria Training Program

you will find!!!

Sample Case History

More information on troubleshooting

Additional training Materials

Wastewater Training Classes

Wastewater Training CD's