Bioremediation, The Environmentally Friendly Way to Reallocate Financial Resources

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According to eminent retired waste water expert Des Kerdachi, South African cities are drowning in their own sewage sludge.   The expense incurred in the removal, by municipal authorities, of dried, caked sludge from sewage sites, usually to landfill    sights throughout South Africa is prohibitive as it is a major task for municipalities.

If one translates into money the wages of – three labourers, a driver, and the cost of a tractor, trailer and fuel for at least five days a week, fifty-two days a year, the cost to a municipality or anyone with this problem becomes clear. A ballpark figure of R50 000 per month is suggested.

For this reason we took notice when we found at two wastewater management sites, that are receiving inoculation with Bio Activator X 256, significant reductions in sludge.

At a paper mill on the KwaZulu-Natal north coast, FBF Organics were contracted to deal with a serious factory effluent odour problem (mercaptans and sulphur) in a large primary lagoon of approximately 1000 square metres and three metres deep. The odour was brought to an acceptable level of control within the first month of the twelve months of the inoculation intervention. However, upon conducting two sludge profile surveys in the primary lagoon we were delighted to discover that over a six month period, the sludge at the bottom of the lagoon had receded by one and a half metres on average. Bioremediation cost them R14000 per month.


Pennington, a popular holiday resort town on the south coast of KwaZulu-Natal, is served by a low energy municipal sewage processing unit. Inoculation of this site with Bio Activator X256 was started in March 2004. Municipal officials have not had to draw off sludge (usually a routine maintenance procedure) from the anaerobic pond to the drying beds since the inception of the project, more than two years ago. The drying beds now only have weeds in them. The cost to the municipality for bioremediation is only R7000 per month.

How does one explain these two, unquestionable, sludge reduction events?

What was observable in each case was the increase in gas production almost immediately after the introduction of the Bio Activator. Liang et al. (2006) describe the successful use of microfauna to reduce excess sludge, by increasing the rate at which solids are changed into liquid and gas. BioActivator X256 has produced similar results by increasing the rate of biological activity, thus accelerating the rate at which sludge is reduced. The cost saving using this technology is remarkable.


Liang, P., Huang, X., Qian, Y., Wei, Y., and Ding, G. (2006). Determination and comparison of sludge reduction rates caused by microfaunas' predation. Bioresource Technology 97(6): 854-861.


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