July’s bug of the month is the crawling ciliates, otherwise known as the “cows of wastewater”. These organisms use cilia, small hair-like structures, to crawl the edges of floc and graze on loosely attached bacteria. While grazing the edges of floc, crawling ciliates often fall prey to their carnivorous cousin, the swimming ciliates. To combat against these predators, one type of crawling ciliates has developed the ability to alter its exoskeleton, making it too large to consume.
Crawling ciliates are a type of protozoan whose presence indicated a stable and healthy wastewater environment. Our wastewater operators closely monitor the types of microorganisms living in the wastewater. A healthy amount of crawling ciliates indicate that everything is going according to plan!
It’s important to remember that crawling ciliates are sensitive microbes that can be negatively impacted when the wrong things are sent down the drain. To keep our system balanced, we would like to remind our customers always to think before you flush! Be sure to only flush the three P’s- pee, poo and paper!