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CENV3059 Water and Wastewater Engineering 1

Module Overview

The module is divided into two parts. One part looks at the types of process that are used to purify water to a standard acceptable for distribution. The subject material is taught so as to give a fundamental understanding of the physical, chemical and biological mechanisms involved in these operations. These include: coagulation and precipitation, sedimentation, filtration and disinfection. Water quality standards relevant to water use are reviewed, along with the rationale for the adoption of such standards from the perspective of protection of public health. The other part of the module looks at the sources and types of wastewater that are generated by an industrialised society. These are considered from the viewpoint of how treatment is carried out so as to prevent environmental damage upon discharge. The taught element of the course covers the various unit operations concerned with the preliminary, primary and secondary treatment of municipal wastewaters: treatment of industrial wastewaters is also briefly mentioned as similar technologies are used, and any differences from municipal wastewater are highlighted. The treatment of the biosolids generated as a result of wastewater treatment is critically analysed in relation to the final disposal options.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

The overall aim of the module is to provide an introduction to the basic unit processes and operations used in conventional water and wastewater treatment.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • A water or wastewater treatment process flow sheet.
  • The chemical and biological principles behind unit processes used in water and wastewater treatment unit processes.
  • The management of residuals from water and wastewater treatment.
  • Appropriate treatment methods for municipal and certain industrial effluents.
  • How water and wastewater treatment plants operate.
  • Simple design equations for water and wastewater treatment plant.
  • Standards that are applied to drinking water.
  • Standards that are applied to wastewater treatment plant effluents.
  • Standards that are applied to sludge arising from water and wastewater treatment processes.
  • The fundamental scientific processes underlying the design and operation of water and wastewater treatment plant.
  • The concept of a unit operation and a unit process.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Select a suitable series of unit processes for a particular water or wastewater type.
  • Critically analyse problems that may arise in the operation of water and wastewater treatment plant.
  • Appraise and use in the correct context design equations for the design and operation of water and wastewater treatment plant.
  • Formulate approaches to treat water and wastewater in the most cost effective manner.
  • Recognise limitations to process design of water and wastewater treatment processes.
  • Recognise water and effluent treatment processes as a key part of our engineered infrastructure.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Rearrange equations and simple mathematical formula
  • Develop time management skills
  • Develop independent learning skills
  • Interpret numerical data
  • Find key reference material in libraries and on-line resources
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Prepare an outline flow sheet and process design for a conventional water or wastewater treatment plant


WATER TREATMENT: 1. Overview of water resources and sources of water 2. Water quality standards 3. Raw water characteristics and quality criteria 4. Conventional water treatment methods including: - Physical - screening, filtration, settlement - Chemical - coagulation, disinfection - Water treatment works design - Maintenance of water quality in distribution 5. Water treatment works design 6. Maintenance of water quality in distribution WASTEWATER TREATMENT: 1. Introduction to wastewater collection, handling and disposal systems 2. Classification and types of wastewater 3. The concept of unit operations for wastewater treatment 4. Basic process flow sheeting - Preliminary and primary treatment operations - Secondary treatment including biological processes 5. Wastewater treatment plant design and process selection

Special Features

If possible the module will also include a site visit to an operational water or wastewater treatment plant (subject to agreement by the local water company). For students unable to participate in this, a summary and overview is presented in one of the lectures.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

The main teaching and learning methods are lectures and problem-solving tutorial sessions. The lecture course introduces the basic unit processes that are used in the treatment of water and wastewater, the standards applied, and the issues associated with residuals management. Because of the nature of the course, reading and viewing of additional material is recommended, associated both with the general aspects of the course and to back up individual lectures. A number of webbased resources in the form of presentations and additional reading materials are provided to help reinforce the basic material covered in the lecture course.

External visits3
Follow-up work24
Completion of assessment task30
Wider reading or practice20
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Gray, N.F. (2010). Water Technology. 


Assessment Strategy

Coursework Assessment - on water and wastewater treatment plant including numerical problems. Referral Method - Open book examination: i.e. a set of questions completed over a specified period (normally 3 weeks) during the summer vacation, during which time the candidates are allowed access to lecture notes and other reference materials. The examination paper is sent to candidates by email and posted on Blackboard. The completed script must be submitted by a specified date through the coursework system. The questions resemble typical questions from previous examination papers, but the candidate is required to attempt all of them.


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework 20%
Examination 80%


MethodPercentage contribution
Examination 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Examination 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules

Pre-requisite - CENV2008


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:

Travel Costs for placements

Field trip to wastewater treatment plant. The cost of coach hire for one afternoon is covered within the programme costs. Students are normally expected to supply personal protective equipment (hard hat, safety boots and hi-viz vest or jacket): but note that most students already have this from participation in the Constructionarium, and a small number of visiting students or those who forget to bring PPE can normally be accommodated.

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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