Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

MS in Chemical Engineering (M.S.C.H.)

Degree Granting Department

Chemical Engineering

Major Professor

Aydin K. Sunol, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Andres E. Tejada-Martinez, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Scott W. Campbell, Ph.D.


Activated Sludge Modeling, Aeration Control, BioWin, Return Activated Sludge, Simultaneous Nitrification-Denitrification


Advanced wastewater treatment plants have complex biological kinetics, time variant influent rates and long processing times. The modeling and operation control of wastewater treatment plant gets complicated due to these characteristics. However, a robust operational system for a wastewater treatment plant is necessary to increase the efficiency of the plant, reduce energy cost and achieve environmental discharge limits. These discharge limits are set by the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) for municipal and industrial wastewater treatment plants to limit the amount of nutrients being discharged into the aquatic systems.

This document summarizes the research to develop a supervisory operational and control system for the Valrico Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant (AWWTP) in the Hillsborough County, Florida. The Valrico AWWTP uses biological treatment process and has four oxidation ditches with extended aeration where simultaneous nitrification and denitrification (SND) takes place. Each oxidation ditch has its own anaerobic basin where in the absence of oxygen, the growth of microorganisms is controlled and which in return also helps in biological phosphorus removal. The principle objective of this research was to develop a working model for the Valrico AWWTP using BioWin which mimics the current performance of the plant, predicts the future effluent behavior and allows the operators to take control actions based on the effluent results to maintain the discharge permit limits. Influent and experimental data from online and offline sources were used to tune the BioWin model for the Valrico Plant.

The validation and optimization of the BioWin model with plant data was done by running a series of simulations and carrying out sensitivity analysis on the model which also allowed the development of operation policies and control strategies. The control strategies were developed for the key variables such as aeration requirements in the oxidation ditch, recycle rates and wastage flow rates. A controller that manipulates the wasting flow rate based on the amount of mixed liquor suspended solids (MLSS) was incorporated in the model. The objective of this controller was to retain about 4500-4600 mg/L of MLSS in the oxidation ditch as it is maintained by the Valrico Plant. The Valrico AWWTP recycles around 80% of their effluent and hence, the split ratios were adjusted accordingly in the model to recycle the desired amount. The effluent concentrations from the BioWin model for the parameters such as Total Nitrogen (TN), Ammonia, Nitrate, Nitrite, Total Kjeldahl Nitrogen (TKN) complied with the discharge limits which is usually less than 2 mg/L for all the parameters.