Fundamentals of Wastewater Treatment for Engineers


1-day course

CPD Credit: 7 hours, C1

Course Aim

This course will provide attendees with an understanding of the different stages of wastewater treatment and the byproducts (sludge) that result.

Course Aim

Wastewater treatment and handling of the sludges produced is part of the circular economy with the biosolids produced, being applied back to agricultural land. Plant design, build and operation is built upon the foundations of standardised approaches to measuring and quantifying the nature of wastewater and reducing pollutant concentrations in a stepwise fashion from preliminary thru to advanced wastewater techniques.  By understanding key terms and the stages of treatment, the value of conversations between engineers and the resulting outputs are enhanced.

Course Objectives

After the course participants should be able to:

  • Understand and apply the key concepts of population equivalence, flow and load to any wastewater.
  • Recognise the steps required to reduce pollutant concentrations and the role of each wastewater treatment stage.
  • Understand the principles of thickening, anaerobically digesting and dewatering sludges produced from wastewater treatment.

Course Programme

  • A brief history of treatment and a look to future drivers
  • Terminology & tests used in the water industry (including Population Equivalence)
  • Flows – measurement and understanding common language (dry weather flow, flow to full treatment)
  • Preliminary & primary treatment – (Screens, grit removal, primary sedimentation)
  • Secondary biological treatment – (an introduction to attached and suspended growth systems)
  • Advanced wastewater treatment (removing phosphorus and other compounds of interest)
  • Handling the byproducts of wastewater treatment – thickening, dewatering of sludges and an introduction to anaerobic digestion

Who Should Attend?

This course is aimed at engineers with an interest in or new to wastewater treatment.  The course will focus on the principles of treatment and design from the point wastewater arrives at the treatment plant to the point that the final effluent is discharged.

Trainer’s Profile

Matthew Smyth  BSc, MRes, MBA, MCIWEM CSci CWEM
Technical Director, Aqua Enviro

Matt has been in wastewater and sludge for twenty years and works with water companies, industry and waste producers to develop and implement solutions.  In the late 1990’s he began his career working on pilot and full-scale Sequencing Batch Reactors, developing, then commissioning carbonaceous and nitrification control strategies, that have been widely adopted plants in the UK and Ireland.  He has subsequently worked closely with many anaerobic and advanced anaerobic digestion facilities treating wastewater and food waste materials, dewatering the digestate and handling the liquors produced.  He presents and publishes regularly at industry-recognised conferences including Aqua Enviro’s European Biosolids & Organics and European Wastewater Management Conferences.  He is a member of the CIWEM Wastewater Management Panel and the ADBA Training, Safety & Environment Working Group.  Matt has delivered over 2000 training days on these topics (1 training day is when 1 person attends 1 course for 1 day).

Sustainability Badge637588502544296219

Engineers Ireland supports the Sustainable Development Goals. This event contributes to Engineers Ireland's Sustainability Framework.

Please contact the Team for further information on scheduled course dates and In-Company options. You can reach us by phone: 01 665 1305 or email