The organisms found growing in a mixed diesel sludge-chromium metal waste were characterized directly using environmental scanning electron microscopy (ESEM) and traditional fixation techniques with scanning electron microscopy (SEM). An attempt to identify organisms genetically directly from the sludge failed because of interference from chemicals in the waste with polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The organisms were isolated using plate culture techniques and isolates were characterized by SEM and genetic sequencing. A variety of organisms were found with differing morphologies and growth habits. Sequencing identified an organism homologous to Bacillus mycoides and matched other organisms such as Paenibacillus lautus, Paenibacillus spp., Bacillus spp., and Rhodobacter spp.