This is a photo of the microscope I use at work to study the microorganisms in the wastewater. My previous blog described a settling experiment for two samples of wastewater, and these samples are also looked at under the microscope.
I also mentioned another procedure that I perform when I do the settling test, and this procedure is very similar to a lab in soil mechanics where we find the water content in a clay sample. Basically, I take 10mL of wastewater from each sample and place them in previously weighed ceramic containers (with filter paper and pores in the bottom). I then drain the excess water water out of the containers (by the pores) and put the containers in the lab’s oven for 30 minutes. After baking I let the containers cool, and then I weigh the samples. I can determine the weight of the solids in the wastewater sample by subtracting this weight from the total weight.
The settling test, the weight test, and looking under the microscope are all linked to the behavior of the wastewater sample after it has come out of the primary treatment. I find really awesome microorganisms under the microscope that all pertain to how the particles in the water are settling, and how much these particles weigh. In my next post I will describe the microorganisms a little bit more, with some pictures from the lab! Everyone working in the lab is extremely helpful, and they have such an inspiring interest in their work. Their interest really helps me learn more, since I feel comfortable asking questions and also since they are very knowledgeable in this area. I’ll be posting tomorrow about some of the findings in the microscope!