Surrey University Stag


Module code: ENGM036

Module Overview

Wastewater quality and treatment have major implications for public and environmental health and the urban water cycle. In this module we will explore this through a broad ranging overview of elements of wastewater treatment and sanitation systems, including the design approaches, sewerage systems and sustainable urban drainage system (SuDs). Major wastewater (sewage) treatment processes will be covered in detail, aligning the theoretical knowledge in ENGM055 Applied Chemistry and Microbiology to practical process design, with inputs from both academics and professionals working in the sector. Approaches to developing world sanitation and wastewater treatment processes will also be covered in the module, which provide in-depth technical knowledge related to topic in ENGM289 Global Challenges in Water and Health. On successful completion of the module, the students are able to show originality in the application of knowledge of sustainable sewerage systems and wastewater treatment to specific situations.

Module provider

Sustainability, Civil & Env Engineering

Module Leader

GUO Bing (Civl Env Eng)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

JACs code: H122

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 106

Lecture Hours: 22

Seminar Hours: 11

Tutorial Hours: 11

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:

  • Rationale behind wastewater treatment- Public and Environmental health, sanitation and European water framework directives (WFD).

  • Wastewater collection and conveyance- sewerage system management and design principles; sustainable urban drainage systems (SuDs). 

  • Wastewater quality and the urban water cycle.

  • Biological wastewater treatment and kinetics of wastewater treatment.

  • Wastewater treatment unit processes: Activated sludge process (ASP); fixed film wastewater treatment systems (Percolating filters and RBCs).

  • Advanced wastewater treatment and reuse- membrane bioreactors (MBRs).

  • Waste stabilisation ponds.

  • Wastewater treatment process simulation.


Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework COURSEWORK 30
Examination EXAMINATION (2 hours) 70

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

  The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate:


  • Ability to synthesize and critically assess the need for wastewater treatment for the protection of natural water bodies and public health (learning outcomes 1 and 4) is assessed through examination.

  • Analysis of the design principles and evaluation of the unit processes in wastewater collection and treatment (learning outcomes 2, 3, 4 and 5) is assessed through both coursework and examination.

  • Proposing appropriate wastewater treatment and drainage schemes  and evaluation of industrial and professional practices on wastewater treatment process design and plant operation and management (learning outcomes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6). This is assessed through the design coursework.

  • Analysis and comprehensive understanding of wastewater collection and treatment issues, both in industrialised and developing world, to evaluate the treatment process selection and management strategies (learning outcomes 1, 4, 5 and 6). This is assessed through both coursework and examination.



  Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • Examination [Learning outcomes assessed 1, 2, 3, 4] (2 hours) {70%}

  • Coursework on i). Wastewater treatment process design, and ii). Sewerage and sustainable urban drainage [Learning outcomes assessed 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] (37 hours) {30%}



  Formative assessment

  • Formative assessment will be through a range of exercises provided in the lecture notes and discussed in the tutorial sessions.


  • Students will receive written feedback on the coursework, and verbal feedback will be provided in the classroom.

Module aims

  • Develop a systematic understanding and critical awareness of key factors associated with sanitation and wastewater treatment
  • Describe the key components of wastewater treatment systems: including preliminary, primary, secondary and tertiary treatment unit processes.
  • Develop a comprehensive understanding of wastewater treatment process design principles, and ability of carrying out design procedures.
  • Develop an understanding of aspects of regulations and legislation associated with wastewater treatment.
  • Develop the ability to evaluate conventional and advanced systems for wastewater treatment and reuse.
  • Develop a systematic understanding and critical awareness of the principles of sewerage design, operation and maintenance, including sustainable urban drainage system concepts.
  • Develop a systematic understanding and critical awareness of health and environmental issues associated with wastewater.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Be able to demonstrate a systematic understanding and critical awareness of aspects of wastewater quality and treatment including their implications for public and environmental health and the urban water cycle. KCT
002 Analyse the functions of unit processes associated with a number of wastewater treatment systems. KCT
003 Carry out, critically evaluate and present the process design of conventional and advanced wastewater treatment processes. KPT
004 Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of aspects of wastewater treatment regulation and law. KPT
005 Propose appropriate sewerage and drainage schemes for storm water and wastewater management, taking into account the principles of sustainable urban drainage systems (SuDs).    KPT
006 Prepare technical reports and documents demonstrating written communication, critical thinking, presentation of data and information, and concept design for wastewater treatment plants. KCPT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

  The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:


This module provides theoretical and practical knowledge that is required in the wastewater management industry and relevant public agencies. Students will develop applied skills in sustainable sewerage and drainage (aligned with Sustainability), biological wastewater treatment, primary and secondary treatment, advanced wastewater treatment reuse, sludge treatment, unit operations and design in municipal wastewater treatment, which are commonly required for professional contribution in the field of wastewater treatment, and protection of natural water bodies and public health.

The module is delivered principally by lecturers, and industry experts who introduce industry relevant practical knowledge (aligned with Employability).

The learning and teaching activities include lectures, classroom exercises and design coursework:

  • Lecture on public and environmental health aspects of wastewater treatment and rationale behind wastewater treatment

  • Lecture and classroom exercises on wastewater collection and conveyance

  • Lecture and classroom exercises on the fundamentals and design principles of biological wastewater treatment processes

  • Lecture on microbiology of wastewater and sanitation in developing countries

  • Lecture and exercises on full scale wastewater treatment plant design and UK’s wastewater industry practices 

  • Lecture on the operation and management of full scale wastewater treatment plants and UK’s wastewater industry practices 

  • Lecture on waste stabilisation ponds and wastewater management in developing countries 

  • Lecture and exercise on introduction to wastewater treatment process simulation 

  • Coursework on design of wastewater treatment plant and sustainable urban drainage systems 

  • Independent study on wastewater treatment process design principles, wastewater collection and sustainable urban drainage 

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: ENGM036

Other information

The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering is committed to developing graduates with strengths in Employability, Digital Capabilities, Global and Cultural Capabilities, Sustainability and Resourcefulness and Resilience, in line with the Surrey Curriculum Framework. This module is designed to allow students to develop knowledge, skills and capabilities in the following areas:


Employability: Students will be supported to develop a unique set of individual, interpersonal and professional skills in water/wastewater engineering. These skills will equip students to be employment ready. The module will bring in speakers from industry to give talks on real-life process design, and career development.


Sustainability: Students will recognise the social-environmental impact of water/wastewater engineering technologies and policies. Real-life case studies related to sustainability issues such as renewable energy, greenhouse gas emission and climate change will be discussed, and external speakers will give talks about sustainability in the water industry.

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2023/4 academic year.