Biological Nutrient Removal

IWES, University of Queensland, WaterAid Wastewater treatment

Target Audience

Engineers, technicians and operators with an interest in the design and operation of BNR plants, as well as people with related support functions.


This course teaches the enabling science of biological nutrient removal, and the tools and techniques required to successfully analyse, design and optimise BNR plants. The presenter is one of Australia’s leading BNR process designers, and the course is structured around real-life challenges and solutions encountered in some of Australia’s largest and most demanding BNR projects. This hands-on course focuses on practical exercises and case studies to develop skills that can be applied immediately in the workplace.

Learning Objectives

DAY 1- BNR Fundamentals:

Basic bioenergetics – energy, growth and decay
Wastewater characteristics – how and why sewage is classified
Sludge age and its influence on design and performance
Fundamentals of Nitrogen Removal
Fundamentals of Excess Biological Phosphorus Removal
Deriving the oxygen demand
BNR process configurations – fitting to the plants sewage, site, skills and situation
Demystifying process models for real-world use – managing risks and avoiding pitfalls.

DAY 2 – Practical design considerations:

Aeration systems – select, size and specify
Secondary clarifiers – sizing, configuration and optimisation
Dissolved oxygen control; settleability and scum management
Odour considerations
Design exercise and case studies: Design an actual BNR plant based on specific attributes and requirements, and review against real-world outcomes
Review of recent BNR plant designs, including real performance data, to understand impacts of design decisions and details
Plant Visit.

DAY 3 – Current and future trends:

Membrane Bioreactors: Development of MBRs; Compare and contrast commercially available MBRs; MBR case studies
Design exercise: MBR vs Oxidation Ditch
From Treatment Works to Factory: BNR and production of recycled water, biosolids and energy; Operating costs and considerations; Carbon accounting for BNR
Innovations in nutrient removal – Deammonification, fixed films, granular sludge and other emerging trends for the next 10 years.