Low Occupancy causes Sewage Bug Starvation

During the Covid shutdown in 2020, a sewage treatment plant servicing a Gold Coast resort succumbed to “under-use”.  Yes, that’s right… when you’d think the sewage treatment plants might like a break themselves, the low to no occupancy at the resort actually caused starvation of the sewage bugs – the many and varied microbes that break down and convert raw sewage. The team at Simmonds & Bristow was called to assess and repair the under-nourished sewage plant.

A chain of events occurred.  Lack of sewage and aeration issues resulted in the quality of sludge and effluent deteriorating.  An aerating mixer malfunction manifested into an imbalance of the plant’s dissolved oxygen levels and nitrogen and phosphorus levels. The activated sludge also diminished rather rapidly, which when investigated further, found a bloodworm infestation within the bottom of the main oxidation ditch.

The entire 40-year-old plant required emptying, a tedious and painstaking job, though some interesting old relics and debris were found at the bottom.   A new aerating mixer was installed, extra sewage from a nearby plant was trucked in to assist with growing the “good bugs” in the oxidation ditch and sugar was also added to the mix to help keep feeding the bacteria and balance out the nutrients.

Any decrease in the number of guests at resorts can obviously be detrimental to the bottom line, but it’s now clear that people (lots of them) are also needed to contribute to the optimal performance of sewage treatment plants.

Today, with the ongoing support and advice from Simmonds & Bristow, the resort’s sewage treatment plant operates better than ever.