Abstract The dynamics of pure and simple competition between two microbial species are examined for the case of interaction arising in a distributed and nonstagnant environment. The environment is modeled as a tubular reactor. It is shown that for relatively small values of the dispersion coefficient (i.e., for small, but nonzero, backmixing of the medium), the two competing populations can coexist in a stable steady state. It has been assumed that the species grow uninhibited and that if there are maintenance requirements they are satisfied from endogenous sources. From numerical studies it has been found that a necessary condition for coexistence is that the net specific growth rate curves of the two competitors cross each other at a positive value of the concentration of the rate-limiting substrate. The model equations have been numerically solved by using the methods of orthogonal and spline collocation.