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Last modified: 22 May 2019 17:07

Course Overview

This course introduces the water cycle and the need for wastewater treatment. Biological wastewater treatment is covered in detail with focus on: activated sludge process for carbon and nitrogen removal and anaerobic digestion. Chemical-physical processes for wastewater and waste gas treatment are also covered in detail: adsorption, stripping, chemical precipitation, chemical oxidation, membrane processes. The course focuses on process design based on mass balance and kinetics.

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 5
Session First Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus Old Aberdeen Sustained Study No
  • Dr Davide Dionisi

What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?


Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

Course Content

  1. Introduction on biological wastewater treatment, definitions of COD and BOD, the COD balance.
  2. Kinetics and stoichiometry of biological reactions, estimation of kinetic parameters.
  3. Activated sludge process for carbon removal. Mass balances, process design, choice of the design parameters and their effect on process performance. Oxygen transfer in biological wastewater treatment, design of the aeration system. Design of the secondary settling tank.
  4. Activated sludge process for carbon and nitrogen removal. Stoichiometry and kinetics of nitrification and denitrification, mass balances, process design, choice of the design parameters and their effect on process performance. 
  5. Anaerobic digestion. Stoichiometry and kinetics of anaerobic digestion, mass balances, process design, choice of the design parameters and their effect on process performance.
  6. Heat generation and heat balances in biological wastewater treatment processes.
  7. Attached growth processes
  8. Introduction to air pollution: the problem, major pollutants and their sources, concentration limits and regulatory framework, effects of air pollutants
  9. Chemistry of atmospheric pollution, local and global implications: smog formation (photolytic reactions), tropospheric ozone formation, acid rain, climate change
  10. Evaluation of the atmospheric pollution: emission, diffusion and concentration at the ground level
  11. Air quality modelling and plume dispersion: stack design and calculations, safety considerations for the stack design; Atmospheric air pollutant dispersion: air pollution meteorology, atmospheric dispersion, dispersion modelling, maximum ground level concentration, GEP analysis and safety considerations,
  12. Air pollution control technologies: gaseous pollutants emission control (SOx and NOx removal (scrubbing)), VOCs, CH4 and CO2 (adsorption). Particulate emission control: particulate collection mechanisms and removing forces: gravity settling, centrifugal action, inertial impaction and interception, electrostatic attraction, thermophoresis and diffusiophoresis, Brownian motion. Air pollution control equipment: operating principles, design and geometries, and performance equations of gravity settling chambers, cyclones, electrostatic precipitators, scrubbers and filters (baghouses).

Contact Teaching Time

Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

Teaching Breakdown

More Information about Week Numbers

Details, including assessments, may be subject to change until 31 August 2023 for 1st half-session courses and 22 December 2023 for 2nd half-session courses.

Summative Assessments

1st Attempt

1 three hour written examination (80%); two elements of continuous assessment (10% each) made of lab experiences and case study based on the lab results.
Penalties for late or non-submission of in-course work are as follows:
a) Up to one week late, 2 CGS points deducted; b) Up to two weeks late, 3 CGS point deducted;  c) More than two weeks late no marks awarded.


1 three hour written examination (100%)

Formative Assessment

There are no assessments for this course.


Feedback will be provided on the submitted assignments.
Students requiring feedback on the exam should make appointments within this session to see the Course lecturer.

Course Learning Outcomes


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