XWT-30305 Biological Water Treatment and Recovery Technology

This Study Handbook is published with reservation. It is not official yet.


Credits 5.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Independent study0
Course coordinator(s)ir. PHA van Dorenmalen
dr. ir. BG Temmink
Lecturer(s)dr. ir. MHA van Eekert
dr. RD van der Weijden
dr. ir. BG Temmink
Examiner(s)dr. ir. BG Temmink

Language of instruction:



The first part provides an introduction about the wastewater characteristics important for the design of biological treatment plants. The basic principles of biological treatment are introduced, including basic microbial principles, kinetics of microbial conversions, stoichiometry and mass balances for pollutants or resources and biomass. The necessity to operate biomass retention systems is discussed and general design criteria for treatment systems are presented. This part is illustrated with municipal wastewater treatment as employed in developed countries and explains aerobic removal of organic matter, nitrogen and phosphorus removal in activated sludge processes and how to design such processes in relation to the wastewater characteristics.
The second part of the course focuses on anaerobic treatment of wastewaters and waste slurries as a method to produce the energy carrier methane from these waste streams. Anaerobic metabolism is explained as well as toxicity aspects, the most commonly applied reactor types and design criteria for these.
The third part deals with removal and recovery of sulfur from wastewaters and liquids generated during treatment of waste gases. The (micro)biological sulfur cycle will be explained, including oxidation and reduction processes and substrates and products involved in these processes. Reactor concepts applying these microbial processes are introduced and design criteria for such reactors are explained.
Organic matter in wastewaters represents a potential source of energy. Lecture part 4 will demonstrate possibilities to convert organic matter in electricity, methane (see above) or hydrogen gas by microbial based processes. The feasibility to perform such conversion processes is explored using thermodynamic principles and calculations. This is further illustrated with a number of innovative technologies including microbial fuel cells.
Metals in wastewaters often are (toxic) pollutants and sometimes scarce resources at the same time. The fifth lecture part deals with these metals and bio-crystallization processes to remove and recover them from wastewaters. Principles of crystallization and bio-crystallisation and biological metal reduction processes to make them amenable for precipitation and crystallisation will be explained.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- demonstrate knowledge about the most important wastewater characteristics, types of pollutants and potential resources in wastewater;
- demonstrate basic knowledge about carbon, nitrogen, phosphate, sulfur and metal related microbiological processes;
- use wastewater characteristics to select appropriate treatment concepts, which may consist of different treatment units;
- demonstrate knowledge about the most important design criteria for biological wastewater treatment and recovery technology;
- make a simple design for treatment and recovery units and predict their performance;
- recognize and understand the contribution of different treatment concepts in terms of energy consumption and generation, foot-print and their importance in terms of the destruction of generation of valuable compounds;
- btain basic skills to work with simple reactors.


Participating lectures/tutorials will provide the required backbone of knowledge. Students will work on exercises and a practical to apply acquired knowledge, basic skills and to prepare for the exam. Students study additional literature and in the last week of the course a one day field trip will be made to an industrial wastewater treatment plant.


The written exam is an open book exam and the final mark of this exam should be 5.5 or above. The five lecture parts contribute equally to the overall assessment. The course mark is determined for 70% by the examination, 25% by the mark for the practical report and 5% for the practical presentation. Also the mark for these last two practical related items should be 5.5 or above.


- Handouts lectures;
- Problems and exercises;
- Lecture notes anaerobic treatment;
- Practical Manuel.
Wastewater Engineering: treatment and reuse, 4th edition by Metcalf & Eddy, ISBN13 - 9780071122504

Compulsory for: MWTWater Technology (joint degree)MSc3WD