The future of WRRF modelling - Outlook and challenges

Pusker Regmi, Heather Stewart, Youri Amerlinck, Magnus Arnell, Pau Juan García, Bruce Johnson, Thomas Maere, Ivan Miletić, Mark Miller, Leiv Rieger, Randal Samstag, Domenico Santoro, Oliver Schraa, Spencer Snowling, Imre Takács, Elena Torfs, Mark C. M. van Loosdrecht, Peter A. Vanrolleghem, Kris Villez, Eveline I.P. VolckeStefan Weijers, Paloma Grau, José Jimenez, Diego Rosso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (SciVal)


The wastewater industry is currently facing dramatic changes, shifting away from energy-intensive wastewater treatment towards low-energy, sustainable technologies capable of achieving energy positive operation and resource recovery. The latter will shift the focus of the wastewater industry to how one could manage and extract resources from the wastewater, as opposed to the conventional paradigm of treatment. Debatable questions arise: Can the more complex models be calibrated, or will additional unknowns be introduced? After almost 30 years using well-known International Water Association (IWA) models, should the community move to other components, processes, or model structures like 'black box' models, computational fluid dynamics techniques, etc.? Can new data sources - e.g. on-line sensor data, chemical and molecular analyses, new analytical techniques, off-gas analysis - keep up with the increasing process complexity? Are different methods for data management, data reconciliation, and fault detection mature enough for coping with such a large amount of information? Are the available calibration techniques able to cope with such complex models? This paper describes the thoughts and opinions collected during the closing session of the 6th IWA/WEF Water Resource Recovery Modelling Seminar 2018. It presents a concerted and collective effort by individuals from many different sectors of the wastewater industry to offer past and present insights, as well as an outlook into the future of wastewater modelling.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-14
Number of pages12
JournalWater Science and Technology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Water Engineering


  • activated sludge model
  • big-data
  • computational fluid dynamics
  • dynamic simulation
  • modelling
  • wastewater


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