Master Thesis proposal: Characterisation of influent and pre-treated municipal wastewaters for ideal carbon utilisation

Characterisation of influent and pre-treated municipal wastewaters for ideal carbon utilisation


Municipal wastewater treatment plants possess the capacity to be net-producers of energy through allocation of organic carbon to biogas production. This is, however, in direct conflict with the need of readily available carbon source in the biological nutrient removal (BNR).

Knowledge about the characteristics of the organic carbon in raw and pre-treated wastewater improves design, operation and modelling of physical-chemical and biological wastewater treatment methods. However, an evaluation of simple and standardised methods for characterization of i.e. biodegradability and size distribution of the organic carbon is lacking for Swedish conditions.

VA SYD is a municipal joint authority operating several wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) in southern Sweden. VA SYD wants to increase its knowledge about differences in wastewater composition in between influents to different WWTPs and the effect of different pre-treatments in front of the biological treatment to be able to optimise the existing facilities or to choose/evaluate new treatment processes.


The main aims of this project are

  1. to make a systematic and critical literature review of different characterisation methods regarding biodegradability of organic matter and particle size distribution,
  2. use the most promising methods to characterise different municipal and pre-treated wastewaters,
  3. analyse factors influencing of the difference in characteristics between the different wastewaters.


Initially, a literature review is performed. The most promising methods are tested in the laboratory. The fractionation of organic matter is performed by physical-chemical, respirometry or/and particle size distribution methods. Information about the catchments areas and the different full-scale pre-treatments are gathered to be analysed together with the results of the characterisation campaigns of grab samples at the WWTPs.


Autumn 2019 or spring 2020.

Interested to perform this Master´s thesis?

Contact the one of the supervisors for the project.
Michael Cimbritz, associate senior lecturer, Lund University (
David Gustavsson, research leader, Sweden Water Research (
Elin Ossiansson, industrial PhD student, VA SYD (