Brisbane has become the first Australian city to introduce superbugs to wastewater systems to naturally clean bacteria from sewage. In other words, poo eating superbugs are helping us get our shit together.
Anammox bacteria feed on ammonite and nitrogen, making them natural cleaners of pollutants in wastewater. A wastewater treatment plant in Brisbane has farmed enough of these Anammox bugs to successfully treat large volumes of sewage.
Urban Utilities had to meticulously grow the bugs from scratch on round plastic discs, due to strict biosecurity laws preventing them from being imported. The bugs grow exceptionally slowly so it’s taken over 5 years of work, but Urban Utilities now has enough to fill 10 backyard swimming pools.
“Annamox bugs are slow-growing so we really had to nurture them… It’s been a lot of work keeping them at the right temperature, but it’s great to see them leave the Anammox farm and move into the treatment plants,” Urban Utilities spokesperson, Michelle Cull, told the ABC.
You can check out the bugs in action in the video below.
Saving Australia from a crappy recycling system
The Anommax bugs reduce the need for treatment chemicals and use 60% less energy than current methods. They are expected to save Urban Utilities $500,000 in operation costs. It’s also a win for the environment as using Ammonax provides a greener solution for sewage treatment.
Anammox treatment is currently in place at Brisbane’s Luggage Point treatment plant, the largest sewage treatment plant in Queensland. Despite the big job ahead of them, apparently, Annamox bugs just love eating our shit.
“Anammox bacteria are so efficient at doing that that they’ve actually created 10 per cent extra capacity here at Luggage Point,” Peter Donaghy, Luggage Point treatment plant manager, told the ABC.
As the Anammox farm continues to grow there are plans to introduce these poo eating bugs to other treatment plants across the rest of Australia.