Principles of Wastewater Treatment

IWES, University of Queensland, WaterAid Wastewater treatment

Target Audience

Engineers, scientists and managers who require an excellent introduction to the principles of wastewater treatment.


The aim of this course is to teach the key enabling scientific and process engineering fundamentals which underpin wastewater treatment processes. These are taught via real wastewater treatment problems and case studies.

This is the most popular wastewater fundamentals course offered in Australia. Now featuring site visits, real case study data and exercises, and state-of-the-art multi-media teaching resources.

Learning Objectives

Day 1

Wastewater characterisation and sampling
Solids characterisation
N & P fractions
Characteristics of real municipal and industrial wastewater streams
Primary treatment – physical treatment technologies
Grit removal
Primary sedimentation
Preliminary treatment and data audits
Workshop problem 1: Sampling, characterisation and primary treatment design for an industrial trade waste stream

Day 2

Introduction to Secondary Treatment
What are the major differences between aerobic and anaerobic processes ?
Biological treatment technologies
Treatment ponds
Biofilm processes (trickling filters; RBC)
High rate anaerobic (UASB) and high rate aerobic processes (MBBR)
Plant Visit 1

Day 3

Chemical treatment and aquatic chemistry
What is pH and why is it so important?
Acids and bases in wastewater systems
Critical equilibrium reactions in wastewater systems
What is alkalinity and why is it so important ?
Material balancing – a fundamental tool for analysing wastewater treatment processes
The Activated Sludge process:
How does the activated sludge process work ?
What is sludge age, and why is it important ?
Calculating sludge production and aeration requirements
Sludge settling
Activated sludge process variations – SBR, MBR
Workshop problem 2 – Secondary treatment design exercise

Day 4

Tertiary treatment
Ion exchange
MF and RO membranes
Biosolids management
Plant Visit 2

Day 5

Water Reuse – municipal and industrial case studies
Biological Nutrient Removal
Principles of biological nitrogen and phosphorus removal
Wastewater characteristics for BNR
BNR process configurations
What’s new in BNR ?
Workshop Problem 3