Sample Collection

Sample Requirements

Screw Top Lid and Tape

• For activated sludge and most other systems, a 50 mL MLSS sample is needed. This should be collected from the end of the aeration process (generally the end of the aeration basin or splitter box going to clarifier (s) placed in a plastic, screw-capped bottle filled no more than ½ full (for air) with the lid taped.

• Note: If two basins share a common RAS they are usually fairly similar in characteristics (usually not recommended to test both). If two basins have separate RAS lines they may often behave as two separate plants and sampling of both basins is recommended etc.

• SBR processes fall into this category (above) and it is common for microbiology to be significantly different in each.

Use Overnight priority for the most accurate sample analysis.

• Please DO NOT mix aeration basin samples from separate RAS lines or SBR samples into one sample as this may alter the overall findings.

• Please DO NOT send coolers due to the high sample volume. They will not be returned.

•Sending with ice is not required. We recommend not sending ice to keep the shipping cost down.

Delivery Instructions

Ryan Hennessy Wastewater Microbiology
691 S. Greenbay Road
Neenah, WI 54956

• Overnight delivery is preferred (No ice/ no coolers needed).
• Call for Lagoon, Anaerobic Processes, or other unique processes so best sample points can be taken.
• Please print chain of custody form below and send along with samples.

Download Custody Form

Micro Services Pricing

Microscopic Evaluation Report (includes foam analysis)
Microscopic evaluation report includes:

  • A detailed report with a description of floc structure characteristics
  • Analysis of dispersed growth in the bulk liquid between the flocs
  • Higher life form organisms observed
  • Predominant higher life form organism
  • Filamentous bacteria rank/abundance
  • Filamentous bacteria impact on overall floc structure
  • Estimated % of healthy filamentous bacteria,
  • Correlation of filament types and other indicator organism types to associated causes
  • Gram stain, Neisser stain, reverse India ink stain
  • Fluorescent viability stain (estimates viable fraction of bacteria), and general operational considerations. Green=alive and viable. Red=dead and not viable (uses fluorescent microscope)

*General operational considerations:

We also encourage clients to call or plan a short call to discuss findings and any operational suggestions.

Microscopic Evaluation Report (includes foam analysis)
Microscopic evaluation report includes:

Same as above but report guaranteed within 24 hours of us receiving the sample or higher rate does not apply (please call ahead for availability).

DNA Services
Micro + DNA report + DNA/Micro Summary Report Package

Mail to address using standard instructions. The sample is preserved and shipped to Aster Bio for DNA analysis. The raw DNA data from Aster Bio is provided in addition to a report comparing the initial microscopic evaluation exam to the DNA results. Matches (proven and in theory) are discussed as well as any additional value DNA insight provides with microscopy).

Note: We do not recommend DNA analysis without microscopy due to many complex factors in interpretation of DNA results such as variable morphological traits of many genera (for example most genera that may be filamentous may also have morphological characteristics of other forms such as single cell bacteria or tetrads). We do however view DNA as a useful "sidekick" to microscopy in the appropriate circumstances.

For QPCR testing (only testing for a limited amount of items- such as nitrifying bacteria, it is recommended to simply work with Aster Bio directly.

Polysaccharide Test
Microscopic evaluation report includes:

  • The Anthrone test measures carbohydrates (polysaccharide) % of dry weight indicating nutrient availability status for the bacteria.

*At >25% polysaccharide per dry weight low nutrient availability is suspected.

Microscores App

All services come with complementary access to the Microscores app. The app allows you to gain instant access to your report.
Go to Microscores APP
Try It for FREE!

Username: Trial
Password: helped96locks
(all lowercase)
(for use in Desktop ONLY)

Additional Services

Additional Basin/ Sample Point for Microscopic Evaluation


If there is a common RAS line for two basins it is very likely that they will be similar and a sample at the splitter box before the clarifier(s) is usually sufficient. Please feel free to email or call with any questions. We ask that samples are not combined into 1 from various basins/ SBRs etc. Typically for SBR processes, each cell should be analyzed as they often behave differently (act as separate plants etc.)

 + travel expenses (lump sum)
Onsite Microscopy Training or Troubleshooting

Training can be customized per client need.

Ranging from:

  • Electronic/webinars based on onsite training.

Classes may include:

  • High-quality phase contrast microscopes that can be brought for hands-on training.
  • We collect the majority of the filament types and various samples so classes can view a high amount of samples in addition to their own.

For identification of filament types we typically work backward with identifying “known” filament types and work up towards analyzing an unknown sample.

Customized Microbiology Poster
*Includes Shipping


  • Posters can include up to 18 microorganism images and can be customized per client preference
  • Anything from a sample on the poster.

Many plants find it beneficial to have a customized poster in front of their microscope so they can correlate their findings to reporting (“birdwatching”).

Please call ahead to discuss details if a poster is requested.

Toxicity/Inhibition Testing
*Call based on project

We offer a range of tests however want to make sure that we are catering the test to the desired results.

With bench-scale testing, we aim to simulate process conditions as best as possible and cater the test to specific needs (i.e. nitrification study, respirometry, toxicity testing, COD removal etc.)

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