Master’s thesis proposal autumn 2017 – Characterisation of influent and pre-treated municipal and industrial wastewaters

Good knowledge about the characteristics of raw and pre-treated wastewater improves design, operation and modelling of physical-chemical and biological treatment methods. The characteristics do not only depend on the composition of household wastewater, industrial discharges and stormwater. Already in the sewers biological and physical-chemical processes are taking place transforming the wastewater composition.

VA SYD is a municipal joint authority operating several wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs). 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 biodegradability and particle size distribution of the organic matter in the wastewater is of most interest due to the effect on and potential of biological processes such as denitrification, enhanced biological phosphorus removal, sludge hydrolysis and anaerobic digestion, and physical/chemical pre-treatment processes such as pre-precipitation, settling and filtration.

The main aims of this project are a) to make a systematic and critical literature review of different characterisation methods regarding biodegradability of organic matter and particle size distribution, b) use the most promising methods to characterise four different municipal wastewaters and one industrial wastewater, before and after full-scale pre-treatment, c) analyse the effectiveness of the pre-treatments and recommend optimisation ideas or new treatment processes based on the wastewater compositions.

Initially, a literature review is performed. The most promising methods is 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 2017

Michael Cimbritz, associate senior lecturer, Lund University (
David Gustavsson, research leader, Sweden Water Research (