Aeration basins contain millions of beneficial microorganisms, commonly referred to as "bugs" by plant operators. These bugs eat dissolved organic wastes, converting them into new cell growth called "activated sludge." In consuming dissolved organic material, the bugs reduce the oxygen demand of the wastewater by more than 95%.
The microorganisms are key to the activated sludge process. These aerobic microorganisms require the proper level of dissolved oxygen to be maintained in the basins. Air is bubbled into the basis through diffusers at the bottom, as shown in this photo.
Blowers provide the aeration necessary to maintain aerobic conditions in the aeration basins.