The future of WRRF modelling - Outlook and challenges

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


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.


  • Pusker Regmi
  • Heather Stewart
  • Youri Amerlinck
  • 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. Volcke
  • Stefan Weijers
  • Paloma Grau
  • José Jimenez
  • Diego Rosso
External organisations
  • Ghent University
  • Research Institutes of Sweden (RISE)
  • Laval University
  • Brown and Caldwell
  • Atkins, Bristol
  • Jacobs, Denver
  • inCTRL Solutions Inc
  • No affiliation available (private)
  • Trojan Technologies Inc.
  • Hydromantis Environmental Software Solutions, Inc.
  • Dynamita, Nyons
  • ETH Zürich
  • Eawag: Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology
  • Waterschap De Dommel
  • University of Navarra
  • University of California, Irvine
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Water Engineering


  • activated sludge model, big-data, computational fluid dynamics, dynamic simulation, modelling, wastewater
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-14
Number of pages12
JournalWater Science and Technology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Publication categoryResearch