Operating & Optimising Activated Sludge Plants: Compliance at least cost

2021 Date to be confirmed, VIRTUAL

Please register for 2021 course by emailing

This training will now be delivered virtually, please see below for further details. 

Times:   9:30 AM – 4:30 PM

Fee:       £775 (includes slides presented)

Course Overview

A modern activated sludge plant incorporates several features to ensure that the mixed liquor settles well. These include: selectors, anoxic zones, plug flow mixing and adequate settlement capacity. In addition, the increased costs of energy mean that proper design and operation of cost effective aeration systems is essential.   To achieve this, it is essential that plant operators have a thorough understanding of the principles of plant operation and are able to devise operating strategies, backed up by suitable metrics and key performance indicators.

This course works through each aspect of treatment plant operation, providing the practical background and worked examples to enable all attendees to put together their own operating strategies and to identify and rectify problems when these occur.

Course Aim

It is a common aim for water companies and businesses operating wastewater treatment plants to deliver compliance at least cost.   For any site, there will be a balance to achieve between resources consumed to meet the wastewater standard and the quantity and type of sludge produced.  This course is designed to help attendees understand this balance and to drive operational efficiencies.

Learning is delivered through a combination of lectures, case studies and worked examples.

Course Programme

Day 1 – The role of different parts of the activated sludge process

  • Wastewater characteristics and terminology
  • Selecting and sizing aeration systems
  • Carbon and nitrogen removal
  • Sizing reactors – sludge age, food: micro-organisms, sludge yield
  • Final sedimentation tanks

Day 2 – Optimising activated sludge plants

  • Filamentous bulking and the role of microscopic analysis of activated sludge
  • Techniques to improve settlement rates
  • Sludge age control and operating at least cost
  • Process investigation for plant optimisation
  • Optimising final sedimentation tanks

(A 1-day course, tailored your requirements, is a popular choice by water companies or contractors to have delivered on their sites to operational staff.  Contact if you’d like to discuss this option)

Trainer Profile

Matthew Smyth  BSc, MRes, MBA, MCIWEM CSci CWEM

Technical Director, Aqua Enviro

Matt has been in wastewater and sludge for twenty years and works with water companies, industry and waste producers to develop and implement solutions.  He has been delivering this course (and variants) for ten years and has updated the course to reflect the challenges of compliance at least cost.

In the late 1990’s he began his career working on pilot and full-scale Sequencing Batch Reactors, developing, then commissioning carbonaceous and nitrification control strategies, that have been widely adopted in plants in the UK and Ireland.  He has subsequently worked closely with many anaerobic and advanced anaerobic digestion facilities treating wastewater and food waste materials, dewatering the digestate and handling the liquors produced.  He presents and publishes regularly at industry recognized conferences including Aqua Enviro’s European Biosolids & Organics and European Wastewater Management Conferences.  He is a member of the CIWEM Wastewater Management Panel and has delivered over 2000 training days on wastewater and sludge treatment (1 training day is when 1 person attends 1 course for 1 day).


Following the new advice for Covid-19, the training will now be delivered virtually via MS teams (there will be no need to download anything if you do not already have teams).  We think this will be safest for everyone, reduce uncertainty and Matt Smyth (the trainer) has successfully delivered lots of training this way.

To ensure that you get the best out of this experience, our aim is to make the training as engaging and enjoyable as possible.  As in face to face training there will be regular structured discussions (camera on) and you will be able to post questions throughout using the chat function.

Matt also has an electronic whiteboard which he’ll use throughout to bring points to life and answer questions; as well as props he wouldn’t normally be able to bring to a third party venue, but can showcase being based in our Wakefield office and Laboratory.

There will be regular breaks to keep it fresh.  We will also provide a link to the presentation after the event.

Please note that cancellations are accepted up to 30 days prior to the training event and there is no refund for non-attendance. 

Book your place

Please fill in the details for each delegate, choose any extras then click 'Continue'

If you have a discount code, please enter it here

Cost per person
£775 (ex. 20% VAT)

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can help you, contact us...

Clare Hunter

Event and Communications Planner

01924 257891

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