Environ. Process Technology


This course is intended to equip chemical and environmental engineers with knowledge and skills to be able to understand how best to sustainably manage the water cycle. This includes understanding the role of various unit operations and having an appreciation of the design approach for these. In particular there is an emphasis on designing and operating biological systems for wastewater treatment.

New and emerging technologies such as membranes and ozonation are also covered in the course. Ensuring engineers are able to take an integrated approach to design of water infrastructure for managing our urban water cycle is a key objective of the course. This includes focus on advanced recycling of effluent and technologies employed in achieving regulatory standards.

The course will involve students developing a biological model to enable simulation of biological wastewater treatment processes. Inspection of a number of water and wastewater treatment plants will occur.



  • Semester 1 - 2016

Learning Outcomes

1. Develop a thorough understanding of the basic principles underlying the behaviour of water- borne contaminants.

2. Understand the key issues associated with being able to effectively manage water resources for urban communities.

3. Introduce the theoretical background associated with existing treatment technologies and highlight the challenges that engineers and scientists face in developing new technologies which meet increasingly stringent environmental guidelines.

4. Provide a medium level capability in the theoretical and practical aspects of water pollution control to allow benefits and limitations of various treatment methods to be properly assessed.

5. Develop a medium level capability in the design and costing of various removal technologies, as demonstrated by the solution of a typical engineering problem.

6. Apply this capability to practical industrial and community problems through a range of case studies and real-life examples.

7. Be able to present clear arguments to support the findings of analysis undertaken as part of case studies.

8. Be able to understand the key fundamentals associated with biological modeling.

9. Be able to apply economic decision making tools to assist in engineering decision making.


The course will introduce a range of environmental protection technologies applied to the treatment of water streams. The course is divided into two parts.

Part A - Covers the theoretical and applied principles and practices for a range of potable water and sewage treatment methods. It will include the following topics:

  1. Water quality characteristics
  2. Water treatment technologies
  3. Advanced water treatment approaches
  4. Coagulation, flocculation, clarification and filtration
  5. Disinfection
  6. Raw sewage characterisation
  7. Wastewater unit operations and technology development
  8. Aeration
  9. Membrane and reverse osmosis technology
  10. Fixed film biological processes
  11. Activated sludge of potable water
  12. Nitrate and phosphorous removal
  13. Advanced wastewater treatment processes for indirect and direct potable reuse.
  14. Biosolids management
  15. Integrated design of potable water and sewage treatment plants
  16. Site visits to local sewage and potable water treatment plants

Part B - Biological modelling and process simulation are essential design tools for engineers when designing biological wastewater treatment processes. This component of the course will develop skills in understanding biological systems and the principle design approaches. It is proposed to present the theory but also to have a number of practical real life scenarios to model. Some tutorials are proposed to assist with biological model development and calibration.

It is intended that students will develop their own biological model as part of the course.

  1. Overview of types of biological systems
  2. Overview of wastewater treatment microbiology: the organisms present and their roles in treatment.
  3. Characterising raw sewage for biological modelling.
  4. Principles and models describing carbonaceous removal, nitrification, denitrification, biological.
  5. Enhanced phosphorus removal transformation processes.
  6. Overview of aeration methods and models to quantity oxygen transfer.
  7. Overview of separation technology for wastewater treatment.
  8. Principles and models for gravity separation processes.
  9. Development of a simulator to design and operate a wastewater process.
  10. Practical application of a simulator to characterise an operating plant.
  11. Overview of commercial simulation packages: their benefits and pitfalls.
  12. Site tours for a range of operating plant to overview general design concepts.
  13. Overview of sludge digestion and the management of return liquid streams.

Assessment Items

Written Assignment: Assignments 1-4

Case Study / Problem Based Learning: Case Study

Formal Examination: Formal Examination

Contact Hours


Field Study

Face to Face Off Campus 4 hour(s) per Week for 1 Weeks


Face to Face On Campus 4 hour(s) per Week for 12 Weeks