January 2013, Vol. 25, No.1

Water volumes

Wastewater Treatment Plant Design Handbook

Task Force of the Water Environment Federation (2012). Water Environment Federation, 601 Wythe St., Alexandria, VA 22314, 191 pp., $90, soft cover, ISBN: 978-1-57278-271-6.

This book is intended as a concise guide for designing water resource recovery facilities and should be used in conjunction with such reference books as Design of Municipal Wastewater Treatment Plants (another Water Environment Federation [Alexandria, Va.] book), the well-known Wastewater Engineering: Treatment and Reuse by Metcalf and Eddy (a branch of AECOM [Los Angeles]), or other similar standards; these books are generally very extensive, giving a complete, in-depth description of wastewater treatment processes. 

The aim of this new publication is not to compete with these others, but rather to complement them by providing a concise overview of all aspects an engineer wants to know for designing water resource recovery facilities. 

F urthermore, it is a starting point for all aspects of wastewater treatment processes, with many references to a fair selection of standards books. In that sense, it is not a book to use as the only source but an overview of which aspects one should consider and a guide to where those aspects are described in detail. 

For example, the chapter on primary treatment is no more than seven pages long, but it answers “What?” and “Why?” questions sufficient to understand the challenge of primary treatment processes, not only for the experienced environmental engineer but also for others with some technical background. However, these readers would need additional reading from the references that are given (and may use one of these directly); for this chapter, reference is made to the relevant chapters in five standard books, including the ones mentioned above. 

More-experienced readers would be well aware of the challenges in general but will mainly be interested in the figures and tables, which, again, have precise references for more detail (book, chapter, and even section). As an example, in the chapter on primary treatment, the section on screening consists of two brief paragraphs —about 20 lines in total — and two tables. The first table gives an overview of all screen types, screen size, media, function, and references. The second table shows the equations for calculating the head loss for coarse and fine screens. Once again, detailed references are given. 

Subjects considered in the 18 chapters are quite complete, including solids thickening and odor control. Each chapter has a principal author — four authors took the lead, including Hannah T. Wilner, who chaired the work — but elaboration of the chapters is based on teamwork. As a result, styles differ a little from chapter to chapter, but the tone and objectives remain the same. 


Bart Van der Bruggen is a professor in the department of chemical engineering at the University of Leuven, Belgium.

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