cod. 1005580

Academic year 2015/16
3° year of course - Second semester
Academic discipline
Ecologia (BIO/07)
A scelta dello studente
Type of training activity
Student's choice
21 hours
of face-to-face activities
3 credits
hub: PARMA
course unit
in - - -

Learning objectives

This course is offered for the free choice of the student with the goal of completing the training on water resources, treatment and reuse of wastewater. The specific objectives are:
to identify and evaluate the pollutant sources and loads from the main human activities
to identify the most suitable technique for wastewater processing;
to approach the treatment plant design;
to identify and handle the main parameters for managing treatment plants.
All objectives contribute to the formation of skills and operational abilities.


Background in ecology, microbiology, inorganica and organic chemistry

Course unit content

This course has mainly a technical approach and is divided into four parts.
The first presents a summary of the main sources of water supply, with reference to its availability and quality. The main pollution sources and how to evaluate the pollutant loads are then presented.
The second part discuss the main wastewater treatment techniques, with emphasis on the activated sludge technique, that is mainly adopted in Italy. Concurrently, students are introduced to the design of simple WWTP.
The third part presents extensive methods, with particular attention to phytodepuration with subsurface water flow.
The fourth part consist in the visit and activities to the Parma west WWTP (activated sludge with denitrification) and to a wetland system.

Full programme

Water quality in relation to the uses. Main sources of supply. Reference standards. Water treatments in relation to the uses. The effects of pollution on surface water and groundwater. Short-circuiting of the water cycle. The integrated water cycle.

Wastewater. Identification of sources and estimation of pollutant loads . Sources and types of pollution. Wastewaters containing organic matter , phosphorus and nitrogen. Methods for the assessment of loads. Population equivalent units. Calculation of potential, delivered and real loads. Community directives, national and regional legislation (notes).

Water purification with intensive technological systems. Activated sludge treatment plant . Biological components and operation of the biological reactor. Other types of systems (notes): biological disk and trickling filters. Sludge treatments, disposal and uses.

Water treatments with extensive systems. Biological ponds. Constructed wetland systems with sub-surface horizontal and vertical flows. Biological components. Design and operation. Exploitation of marginal ecosystems , buffer strips, cover crops.

Practice and training
Visit to the municipal treatment plant “Parma Ovest”, meeting and discussion with the technicians who run the system.
Visit to constructed wetlands of the dairy farm “S. Vittoria (Carpaneto , PC). During the visit the action taken to save water and reduce emissions will be also assessed.


Theacher notes that have to be integrated with chpters from the following texbooks.
Berland J.-M., C. Boutin, Molle P., Cooper P., 2001. Extensive treatment processes for wastewaters. European Commission, International Water Office, Luxembourg.
Provini A., Galassi S., Marchetti R., 1997. Applied ecology. UTET, Torino (in Italian)
Madoni P., 2005. Biological processes in acrivated sludges ENIA, RE (in Italian)
Romagnolli F., 2013. Phytodepuration. Susytainable management of waters. Dario Flaccovio, Palermo (in Italian)

Teaching methods

Lectures on the main wastewater treatment techniques (60%).
Visit and activities in two types of WWTP (40%)

Assessment methods and criteria

At the end of the course students acquired skills that enable them to identify the main contaminants of water and to select the most appropriate treatment technique.
The final examination consists of the presentation of a report dealing with one of the following topics : (1 ) water quality in relation to the uses and standards, ( 2 ) qualitative and quantitative evaluation of pollutant emissions of a given productive activity, ( 3 ) selection and design of a treatment plant of a given productive activity, (4) land management to prevent and/or reduce water pollution .
The report must be submitted in written form and discussed with a power point or similar support . The written report must contain a summary (5 lines), a brief introduction dealing with the state of the art, the aims , the development of the selected topic and bibliography. The report, will be from 4 to 6 pages, margins 2.5 cm, spaced 1.5. Up to a maximum of 4 between tables and figures are allowed. The power point presentation has to be 10 minutes long with 8-10 slides.

Other information

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