Modelling Wastewater Treatment Processes and Plants

The aim of this course is to give insight into and understanding of modeling of activated sludge wastewater treatment plants. 

For whom?

The module primarily targets professionals working in water and sewerage companies, consulting firms, industry, municipalities, universities and ministries.


General admission criteria IHE and a B.Sc. degree in preferably Civil Eng., Env. Eng., Microbiology, Chemistry or Chemical Engineeing

Learning objectives

Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
  1. Can memorize the basics of wastewater treatment modelling (kinetics, stoichiometry, mass balances, hydraulics and matrix notations). Can develop a matrix for a biological model.
  2. Can use the computer software AQUASIM as a tool for modelling wastewater treatment processes. Can put a model in AQUASIM and explain the outcome of the model run and the implications for wastewater treatment.
  3. Can discuss the application of modelling in wastewater treatment using practical examples.
  4. Can explain the modeling history and the state of the art of activated sludge modelling.
  5. Can evaluate data and processes of an activated sludge wastewater treatment plant. Apply the theory with respect to modeling in a case study using Excel and BioWin. Can discuss and explain the outcome of the model.
  6. Can relate the activated sludge computer exercise in BioWin with the real wastewater treatment plant.
  7. Can explain the modeling of MBR systems. Can simulate an existing model using BioWin and explain the results.

Course content

The presentations deal with the basis of wastewater modeling (kinetics, stoichiometry, mass balances, hydraulics, mixing and matrix notation), an introduction of existing IAWQ-models (ASM1, ASM2, ASM3, ASM2d), TUD(P) model, and a selection of computer programs (ASIM, AQUASIM, SIMBA, WEST) in which the models are or can be build in, the procedures for characterization of wastewater and sludge and the protocol for the development of calibrated activated sludge models.

Case studies on modeling wastewater treatment plants will be presented. Beside the presentations, exercises form a major part of the course. The computer program AQUASIM as a tool of modeling activated sludge processes will be introduced. Using AQUASIM several exercises will be performed to become familiar with the program and to see the broad application of such a computer program. Finally, an exercise on the optimization of an existing wastewater treatment plant (Katwoude, The Netherlands) using mass balance calculations and the programs ASIM and AQUASIM will be performed.


  • Delft University of Technology


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