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Optimising Activated Sludge Plants: Compliance At Least Cost

  • Date(s)
    Tuesday, 26 February 2019
  • Time(s)
    9:30 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Venue
    Engineers Ireland, 22 Clyde Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4, Ireland
  • Fee

    Members: €395.00
    Non-Members: €445.00

    NOTE: You can only book online using credit or debit card details.  If your preferred method of payment is by invoice / purchase order / bank transfer / other, please contact the CPD Training Team on 01-6651305, or email to secure a place.

  • CPD Credit
    6.5 hours   C1, C2


Over 93% of wastewater produced in Ireland receives secondary or more stringent treatment, most commonly by way of the activated sludge process.  The costs for treatment, the effluent quality that can be achieved and the quantity of sludge produced are a function of wastewater received, size of works, the technology in place and the operating sludge age.

This course will provide attendees with a detailed understanding of the activated sludge process, how it can be controlled and optimised to produce a well settling secondary sludge that meets specified effluent targets for BOD, suspended solids, ammonia and total nitrogen at least cost. It will cover examples in domestic and industrial applications (e.g. food and beverage) and expected performance based upon real world data. 

Learning is delivered through a combination of lectures, individual and group worked examples.

Course Aim

It is a common aim for water companies and businesses operating wastewater treatment plants to deliver compliance at least cost.   For any site, there will be a balance to achieve between resources consumed to meet the wastewater standard and the quantity and type of sludge produced.  This course is designed to help attendees understand this balance and to drive operational efficiencies.

Course Objectives

After the course participants should be able to:

  • Understand wastewater constituents and ratios and how these affect design and operation
  • Explain the terms sludge age and food to micro-organisms ratio
  • Calculate the costs of operating at different sludge ages and the benefit gained in terms of effluent quality
  • Understand the role of different zones (anoxic, anaerobic, aerobic) and the reactions taking place
  • Understand the causes of and solutions to filamentous bulking and foaming
  • Optimise final sedimentation tanks


  • Wastewater terminology and characteristics for treatment plant design and operation
  • The activated sludge process – sludge age, sludge yield, F:M
  • The different zones/cycles – anoxic, anaerobic, aerobic and their roles in removing contaminants
  • Aeration – quantity of oxygen required to meet consent and achieving this in practice
  • Final sedimentation tanks – optimising RAS, MLSS and settlement rates
  • Filamentous bulking and foaming – identifying the causes and implementing solutions
  • Process investigations to identify root causes

Who should attend

Suitable for anyone seeking to advance their activated sludge process knowledge, considering how/if to upgrade and activated sludge plant or wishing to reduce OPEX.  This includes operators, team leaders, process scientists, engineers, consultants and managers.  

Other CPD courses in this series

Trainer 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 at 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 recognized 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).

Make a Booking

26 February 2019


Confirmation is subject to event fee being finalised. Cancellation fees calculated at 50% of the estimated total bill will be charge for confirmed bookings cancelled less than 5 working days prior to the date of the planned event. A replacement person can attend instead. Cancellations made the day prior to an event will be charged 75% of the total estimated bill. No-shows will be charged the full fee. All cancellations must be confirmed in writing by email. Engineers Ireland will not be liable for any costs in the event of a course being re-scheduled.  This applies, but is not limited, to any travelling, subsistence or consequential expenses incurred by delegates.