Wastewater Treatment 21/6/22

21 June 2022, VIRTUAL


BOD, COD, ammonia, phosphorus, population equivalence, consents to discharge, physical, chemical, biological treatment.  These and more concepts form the foundation to evaluating wastewater treatment processes.  You will leave this wastewater treatment training course understanding what these and more are and how they are applied to plant operation and optimisation.


Attendees on this wastewater and sewage treatment plant training course will be provided with an understanding of the components of wastewater, how these relate to consents to discharge and the different stages of treatment in a wastewater treatment plant.  It will cover examples in domestic and industrial applications (e.g. food and beverage) and expected performance based upon real world data.  Key performance indicators along with common operational challenges and solutions are covered, along with numerous proprietary technologies.

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


  • What is wastewater? Tests used to characterise and quantify wastewater. Differences between domestic and industrial wastewaters
  • Consent limits and future drivers for investment
  • Flow and load – terminology (e.g. population equivalence, dry weather flow), how to undertake a flow and composition study, relationships in the data and what they mean
  • The wastewater treatment works:
    Part 1 – Preliminary & primary treatment – (Screens, grit removal, primary sedimentation)
    Part 2 – Secondary biological wastewater treatment – (Activated sludge, SBR, MBR, MBBR, trickling filters)
    Part 3 – Tertiary treatment (solids and phosphorus removal, disinfection)

Who should attend?

This course has broad appeal.  It is aimed at anyone wishing to build fundamental knowledge in wastewater, the terms used in industry that empower conversations and the technologies employed to reduce pollutant levels.  As such it is particularly well suited to early career or new to the wastewater industry folk.  The course has a wide scope and will be useful for those wishing to understand the UK market, drivers and challenges.  The concepts covered in this course will provide a platform to further enhance your learning journey on our activated sludge and anaerobic digestion courses.  It is relevant to those working or interested in either domestic or industrial wastewater applications.

Why invest in Wastewater Treatment Training?

  • Gain a full understanding of the components of wastewater and the treatment processes employed to achieve different discharge consent criteria
  • Recognise the importance of load, removal rates and Population Equivalence and use these key metrics to investigate plant performance and to build investment scenarios
  • Begin your journey in process troubleshooting and optimisation to achieve compliance at east cost
  • Enhance the value of your conversations and meetings with colleagues across the business by using common language and terminology to define and agree solutions


The training will be delivered ONLINE: 9:30 am -16:30 pm; (also available on 1st March, please book that course here)


£345 plus VAT for 1-person, (includes slides presented).  15% discount on total price if all three courses booked at the same time: Activated Sludge & Anaerobic Digestion courses.  NB: the fee is for 1 attendee (no one in the background peeking please).  Please get in touch to discuss discounts if you would like more than one place

Optional extra

  • 1-2-1 follow up with trainer Matthew Smyth to reinforce learning at £205 plus VAT (2 hours).

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 delivered this course (and variants) for fifteen years to over 300 staff from the Environment Agency, multiple water company staff and in this format, which is open to all.

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 & Bioresources and European Wastewater Management Conferences.  He is a member of the CIWEM Wastewater Management Panel and has delivered over 2000 training days on these topics (1 training day is when 1 person attends 1 course for 1 day).

Outside of training Matt contributes to Aqua Enviro’s Technical Team, providing a input and steering to projects and to develop our team of process scientists.  His continued exposure to a wide range of investigative, challenging and solution orientated projects is brought into training to ensure that the material presented is current and relevant.

Ready for the next level of training?

This training dovetails with our Activated Sludge and Anaerobic Digestion courses.  To understand, evaluate and optimise any site we must be able to interrogate individual plant items and how the performance of each influences adjacent process units and the performance as a whole.  Wastewater treatment is quite literally a case of the toe bone being connected to the foot bone, to the heel bone, ankle, leg, knee, thigh, hip and everything else.

Case studies and worked examples at the core of the training

Irrespective of whether you are working on a domestic wastewater treatment site or industrial effluent treatment plant, this joined up approach is valid.  Here are some case study examples:

  • Anaerobic digester is failing to achieve its targets for throughput and energy generation which leads to investigative study being commissioned.
    • Challenges also for meeting final effluent discharge consent criteria identified in scoping meeting
    • Site visit and sampling programme at different stages on the site highlights solubilisation of organics (COD). This readily biodegradable material appears in return liquors and imbalances the ratio of primary to surplus activated sludge (SAS) produced.  As a result, the activated sludge plant is operating at too high a Mixed Liquor Suspended Solids (MLSS), blanket loss predicted at high flows.  The high MLSS operation also leads to a ‘bloom’ of filamentous micro-organisms that worsen rates of settlement and exacerbates the consent challenges.
    • The available energy (COD) to the digester is reduced owing to the SAS: primary imbalance and loss of highly biodegradable (soluble COD) in a pre-dewatering phase prior to anaerobic digestion.
    • The high SAS feed contains hydrophobic organisms (a result of the ‘bloom’) that cause foam in the digester, inhibits mixing, reduces throughput and requires chemical addition to deal with the effect.
    • Priority action: Storage tanks taken out of service and bypassed to reduce the cause of the COD solubilisation, reduce return liquor load, allowing reduction of MLSS, out competing the bloom of undesirable micro-organisms and bringing the ratio of primary: SAS into balance
    • Longer term actions: Evaluate Digester retention time and clean as necessary, reconfigure sludge processing train to eliminate pre-dewatering phase and achieve chemical savings.
    • This is compliance at least cost and maximising energy generation.
  • Industrial effluent treatment plant failing its consent to discharge and facing an Enforcement Notice from the Environment Agency.
    • Rapid response required. Data evaluation and meetings with site to ascertain where evidence gaps exist and to understand client’s level of knowledge.
    • Multiple possible causes identified, but inadequate data at different treatment stages to progress to an action plan.
    • On site testing including provision of analytical and investigative equipment to facilitate rapid turnaround of results. Process Scientist supported by Senior Technical team member remotely.
    • Septicity in the wastewater and stored sludges and high levels of Fats/oils/Greases identified as root cause issues.
    • Priority actions: upstream balancing optimised to reduce hydraulic surges and septicity. Evaluate and control septicity through routine redox analysis.  Dissolved Air Floatation (DAF) plant review to optimise chemicals added, dosing location, coagulation, flocculation and ultimately removal rates.
    • Longer term actions: Enhance mixing in balancing/divert tanks. Refurbish downstream biological treatment processes.  Evaluate cost-benefit of incorporating dewatering technology into the process train.
    • 12-month service contract purchased by client to develop solutions and includes bespoke training package to upskill operators.

Do you have a challenge with your effluent plant right now?

Get in touch to see how we can help and embed learning in the process.  We have vastly experienced teams with in-depth knowledge that will cover all aspects of your challenge.


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Cost per person
£345 (ex. 20% VAT)

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