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PurdueX: Biological Principles in Wastewater Treatment

This course introduces biological principles used in the design and operation of biological wastewater treatment plants.

Biological Principles in Wastewater Treatment
5 weeks
6–8 hours per week
Instructor-led on a course schedule
This course is archived

About this course

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Water scarcity is one of the most critical challenges in human society. Billions of people in the world have poor access to clean water and such a situation is getting worse with rapid population growth and industrial development. Wastewater treatment is an important approach to recover valuable water and reduce its pollution to the environment and risks to humans. Biological wastewater treatment is a cost-effective and most used technique for wastewater treatment.

This course introduces the fundamental design principles and practice of biological wastewater treatment and prepares students for designing wastewater treatment systems. At the end of the course, students are expected to understand general biological principles and design practices of wastewater treatment, apply the knowledge to select the best unit process to treat wastewater, and design a wastewater treatment component or process to meet water quality treatment goals.

At a glance

  • Language: English
  • Video Transcript: English
  • Associated skills: Biology, Wastewater, Water Quality, Design Elements And Principles, Sewage Treatments

What you'll learn

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  • preliminary treatment of wastewater
  • primary treatment
  • wastewater microbiology
  • activated sludge process
  • secondary settling
  • disinfection
  • post-aeration
  • tertiary treatment
  • residual management.

Week 1:

  • Introduction of Wastewater Treatment
  • Biochemical Oxygen Demand
  • Overview of Wastewater Treatment Processes
  • Pump Station
  • Bar Screen
  • Grit Chamber
  • Equalization Basin

Week 2:

  • Primary Treatment
  • Sedimentation
  • Primary Sedimentation

Week 3:

  • Microbiological principles for biological wastewater treatment
  • Microbial kinetics
  • Mass balance equations

Week 4:

  • Bacterial growth kinetics
  • Sludge production
  • Oxygen demand and transfer
  • Food to microorganism ratio
  • Denitrification

Week 5:

  • Secondary Settling
  • Disinfection

Frequently Asked Questions

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Is a texbook required?


Are there recommended textbooks?


The following texts are recommended:

  • "Water and Wastewater Engineering Design Principles and Practice" by Mackenzie L. Davis
  • "Environmental Biotechnology: Principles and Applications" by Bruce Rittmann and Perry McCarty
  • "Wastewater Microbiology" by Gabriel Bitton

Who can take this course?

Unfortunately, learners residing in one or more of the following countries or regions will not be able to register for this course: Iran, Cuba and the Crimea region of Ukraine. While edX has sought licenses from the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to offer our courses to learners in these countries and regions, the licenses we have received are not broad enough to allow us to offer this course in all locations. edX truly regrets that U.S. sanctions prevent us from offering all of our courses to everyone, no matter where they live.

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