Toxicity affects most wastewater treatment plants. Incoming toxic waste lowers the treatment capacity of the microbes within the treatment system, and to compensate, the treatment plants must either be larger or use more energy. Having a rapid, reliable means of testing incoming waste gives the treatment plant an ability to test incoming waste before it arrives at the facility and charge customers based on the toxicity of that waste.
The SciTOX ALPHA was designed to allow a very simple and rapid means of testing for toxicity. The complete assay requires only fifteen minutes including all sample incubation. It is effective for a wide range of inorganic and organic toxicants. The system uses indigenous bacteria with no importation requirements, and the reagents are simple to prepare.
The operating system for running a toxicity analysis is equally easy. The embedded software operates via the touchscreen, and provides a step-by-step process for the test. Each step of the analytical method is described in a sentence or phrase, and has an illustrating photograph included. The operator then follows each step as it is defined, approves the step, and then goes to the next step. The full analysis, from reagent preparation to final results is done in this manner. And the customer is able to select from up to ten different languages for the touchscreen display.
The flexibility of the SciTOX ALPHA allows the testing to be tailored to individual types of treatment, including, but not limited to, activated sludge, contact stabilization, nitrification, and anaerobic digestion. The assay works for raw, incoming trade waste, as well as mixed influent to the wastewater plant.
Testing at wastewater facilities varies widely in its precision. This is due to wide fluctuations in sample temperature, large numbers and concentrations of possible contaminants, and a widely varied microbial population. Given these potential sources of error, the electrochemical stability of the ALPHA provides added value when bacterial loading within the wastewater plant fluctuates.
The service requirements and cost of ownership for the SciTOX ALPHA are extremely low. There is only one reagent, Potassium Ferricyanide, and the customer can select their own toxicant standard, although typically 3,5-DiChloroPhenol (DCP) is used. The bacteria are indigenous and cost-free. Spare parts are virtually eliminated, being limited to the analytical electrode and sample test tubes (2ml Eppendorf® Tubes). The glassware needed is commonly found in all wastewater plants and laboratories, and the filter device is included with the analyzer.
Looking towards the future, this toxicity measurement technique can be transferred to different analytical platforms and applications. It is adaptable to different types of bacteria and reagents, and maintains its simplicity and low cost of ownership.
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