Available in 2021
Course code



10 units


3000 level

Course handbook


This course is intended to equip chemical and environmental engineers with knowledge and skills to be best able to sustainably manage the water cycle. This includes analysing and evaluating 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.

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.

Availability2021 Course Timetables


  • Semester 1 - 2021

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Identify the key issues associated with effective management of water resources for urban communities.

2. Apply the basic principles that underpin physical, chemical and biological treatment of both potable and wastewater streams to simple problems.

3. Analyse the available information on influent and effluent water conditions, and set the design parameters for treatment processes necessary to meet water quality requirements.

4. Create an appropriate unit operations process that meets the required water quality standard.

5. Quantify the energy requirements associated with biological wastewater treatment plants.


The course will introduce a range of environmental protection technologies applied to the treatment of water streams. The course covers the theoretical and applied principles and practices for a range of potable water and sewage treatment methods.

For potable water the topics include:

  1. Water supply sources and management strategies
  2. Water quality characteristics
  3. Water treatment technologies
  4. Hardness removal
  5. Clarification
  6. Disinfection

For municipal wastewater the topics include:

  1. Overview of types biological systems
  2. Overview of wastewater treatment rmicrobiology: organisms present and their roles in treatment
  3. Characterising raw sewage for biological modelling
  4. Principles and models describing carbonaceous removal, nitrification, denitrification
  5. Activated sludge treatment
  6. Overview of aeration methods and models to quantity oxygen transfer
  7. Energy utilisation
  8. Anaerobic digestion

Assessment items

Quiz: Quizzes

Case Study / Problem Based Learning: Written Assignment

Formal Examination: Final Examination

Contact hours



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

Please note that site visits are held on 3 occasions and replace the lecture.

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.