Water and Wastewater Treatment

Module aims

  • To provide a basic description and understanding of the principal unit processes used in the treatment of drinking water and municipal wastewaters.
  • This will include coverage of the scientific basis of each unit process, as well as the conventional approach to their engineering design. By reviewing the variety of raw water qualities commonly found, and the prevailing drinking water quality standards that must be compiled with, the course will highlight and detail the typical configurations of unit processes used in the UK and internationally.
  • In the area of wastewater treatment the course will provide an understanding of the kinetic theory of biological growth and apply it to typical aerobic processes, and an appreciation of the purpose and practice of sludge treatment.

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing this course unit, students will be able to: 

  • Appreciate how the nature of source waters and raw wastewaters, and treatment objectives influence the type, number and sequence of unit processes.
  • Understand the fundamental, scientific basis governing the design and performance of the treatment technologies reviewed in the module.
  • Understand the role of each unit process within typical treatment process trains, their interaction and the context of when they are applied. Define an appropriate process stream for the treatment of a typical raw/source water and a wastewater, and the main secondary flows from the treatment.
  • Apply their knowledge of the principles of water and wastewater treatment to the design of each unit process reviewed in the module.
  • Become familiar with the terminology applied to water and wastewater treatment processes and the key design parameters, units and common figures of merit.

Module syllabus

  • Drinking water treatment including: Introduction to water treatment; Coagulation; Floc Separation Processes; Filtration; Disinfection.
  • Wastewater treatment including: Introduction to Wastewater Treatment; Sedimentation; Biological Treatment - Activated Sludge; Biological Treatment – Biofiltration; Sludge Treatment and Dewatering.

Teaching methods

The module is delivered in the spring term as a set of 18 lectures and includes a number of tutorial exercises. The content of the module is complemented by site visits to treatment plants during the study tour at the end of the term.


Assessment of the module is by examination.

Reading list


Module leaders

Dr Michael Templeton
Professor Nigel Graham