26th International Specialized Course “Operation and control of activated sludge processes using microbiological analysis”

University of Palermo, CNR - Water Research Institute, Association of Biologists of the Palermo Province Activated sludge bulking, foaming; filamentous microorganisms

Target Audience

Biologists, process engineers, skilled operators of wastewater treatment plants.


The highly versatile 100-year old activated sludge process is still the most commonly-used secondary biological wastewater treatment process in the world. It has a proven track record of efficient and cost-effective removal of carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, pathogens etc. Novel process modifications such as sequencing batch reactors (SBRs), membrane bioreactors (MBRs), granular sludge, moving that will summarize both “what is known” of the fundamentals of the process as well as to attempt “a look into what the future may hold”. We welcome participants from all sectors of the wastewater treatment field - consultants, operators, technicians, government agencies, academics and students.

Learning Objectives

The educational objectives of the course are as follows:
- to give all the necessary background information for a full understanding of the relationship that exists between the operating conditions of the processes and configuration of the systems with the development of biomass and the biocenosis of the activated sludge;
- to explore aspects related to the causes and effects of the phenomena consequent to excessive development of filamentous microorganisms (bulking and foaming) or to the non-formation of sludge flocs able to settle;
- to describe the possible actions to prevent and treat these phenomena and provide guidance on the design of works and extent of interventions;
- to analyze the correlation between protozoa and operational conditions;
- to describe of the most recent methods of analysis to determinate the filamentous microorganisms that cause of bulking and foaming, also through innovative approaches;
- to analyze problems associated with failure to good performance of the biological activated sludge process (formation of smells);
- to describe the innovative technological solutions for overcoming the problems related to sludge sedimentation;
- to analyze the emerging problems also using new biological technologies (EPS and foaming in MBR systems, and greenhouse gas emmission).