Online Course on Biological Wastewater Treatment: Principles, Modelling and Design

This online course seeks to address the quantity, complexity and diversity of the developments in the wastewater treatment profession, particularly in developing countries where access is not readily available to advanced level courses in wastewater treatment. 

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For whom?

Sanitary engineers, (environmental) biotechnologists, biochemists, civil engineers, environmental engineers, chemists, environmental scientists and different professionals working or interested in the wastewater treatment field.


  • Basic knowledge on microbiology and chemistry 


Dates, Fee, ECTS

Start: 04 January 2021
End: 04 June 2021
Duration: 22 weeks
ECTS credit points: 6
Deadline IHE application: 03 January 2021 - 23.59 (CET)
Course fee: € 1278

Start: 06 September 2021
End: 18 February 2022
Duration: 22 weeks
ECTS credit points: 6
Deadline IHE application: 05 September 2021 - 23.59 (CET)
Course fee: € 1278

VAT is not included in the course fee

Learning objectives

Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
  1. Describe the prime objective of wastewater treatment and sanitation.
  2. Determine the stoichiometric and kinetic parameters of the different metabolic processes of the microorganisms involved during the biological wastewater treatment process
  3. Critically determine and analyse quantity and quality characteristics of wastewaters
  4. Design and critical assess different wastewater treatment systems and configurations performing biological organic matter, nitrogen as well as phosphorus removal.
  5. Design and critically evaluate different disinfection treatments
  6. Assess and describe through mathematical expressions the different process occurring during wastewater treatment as well as effects caused by inhibitory compounds
  7. Design and assess the operation of a biofilm system for wastewater treatment

Over the past years, the knowledge and understanding of biological wastewater treatment has advanced extensively and moved away from empirically-based approaches to a fundamentally-based 'first principles' approach that embraces (bio-)chemistry, microbiology, physical and bioprocess engineering, and mathematics.

Many of these advances have matured to a degree that they have been codified into mathematical models able to describe and simulate diverse scenarios under different environmental conditions at either steady or dynamic state. For a new generation of new scientists and engineers entering the wastewater treatment profession, the quantity, complexity and diversity of these new developments can be overwhelming, particularly to those from developing countries where access is not readily available to advanced courses in wastewater treatment.

The main purpose of this online course is to address the deficient access to the knowledge by offering a broad and thorough overview on (conventional and innovative) biological wastewater treatment processes and practices. It assembles and integrates postgraduate course material of different professors from leading research groups around the world that have made significant contributions to the latest advances in biological wastewater treatment technologies which range from biological organic matter, nutrient and pathogen removal to membrane bioreactors (MBR), innovative nitrogen removal technologies and mathematical modeling of activated sludge and biofilm systems.

The online module on biological wastewater treatment consists of more than 40 hours of video-recorded lectures by the author professors compiled into a DVD package available to those registered in the online course, the text book of the same name of the course published by IWA publishing, lecture handouts, and tutorial exercises for student's self study.

Course content

  • Wastewater Treatment Development
  • Microbial Metabolism
  • Wastewater Characterization
  • Organic Matter Removal
  • Nitrogen Removal
  • Innovative Nitrogen Removal
  • Phosphorus Removal
  • Pathogen Removal
  • Aeration and Mixing
  • Toxicity
  • Bulking Sludge
  • Final Settling
  • Membrane Bio-reactors
  • Modelling Activated Sludge Processes
  • Process Control
  • Anaerobic Wastewater Treatment
  • Modelling Biofilms
  • Biofilm Reactors

Additional information

The course fee includes access to the course materials as well as individual guidance and mentoring during the course. The maximum number of participants is 20. A reliable and reasonably fast (ideally 512 kbps) internet connection is necessary.

The course material is also provided as a package including more than 40 hours of video materials on a DVD and the hardcopy of the book Biological Wastewater Treatment: Principles, Design and Modelling, edited by M. Henze, M.C.M. van Loosdrecht, G.A. Ekama and D. Brdjanovic (2008). IWA Publishing, ISBN 13: 9781843391883, pp. 526. The book is also used for teaching as part of a lecture series in the Sanitary Engineering specialization of the IHE Delft’s Masters Program in Urban Water and Sanitation.

Upon successful completion of the course participants will receive a Course Certificate issued by IHE Delft.


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