Advanced Water and Wastewater Treatment

Module aims

  • To extend and deepen the scope of the introductory module on drinking water, and wastewater treatment (CI9-EE-28).
  • To cover the background to water quality, standards and regulations, and more specialised unit processes of softening, ion exchange, oxidation, adsorption, and membrane systems.
  • To review the fundamental basis of aerobic treatment processes, and describe methods of advanced effluent treatment for higher discharge standards and effluent re-use.  

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. 
  • Appreciate the advantages, disadvantages and limitations of the technologies and new developments. 
  • Be able to 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. 
  • Be 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: water quality standards, water safety plans and regulations; softening and ion exchange; oxidation and adsorption; membrane processes.  
  • Wastewater treatment: preliminary and primary processes; kinetic theory; activated sludge systems; tertiary treatment; sludge disposal practice and policy. 
  • Discussion of the basis of present day sewage sludge disposal practice and policy. 

Week No.  




Drinking water quality standards 

Professor N. Graham 


Preliminary and primary processes 

Dr Po-Heng Lee 


Softening and ion exchange 

Professor N. Graham 


Kinetic theory 

Dr Po-Heng Lee 


Oxidation and adsorption  

Professor N. Graham 


Activated sludge II 

Dr Po-Heng Lee 


Membrane technology 

Professor N. Graham 


Tertiary treatment 

Dr Po-Heng Lee 


Sludge disposal practice and policy 

Professor S. R. Smith 

Teaching methods

A combination of lectures and tutorials. The module is delivered in the spring term as a set of 18 lectures and 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. 


Information will be provided separately.

Reading list


Module leaders

Professor Nigel Graham