cod. 1005580

Academic year 2019/20
2° 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

Learning objectives

This course is offered for the free students' choice 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, inorganic and organic chemistry

Course unit content

This course is mainly technical and composes of four sections.
The first presents a summary of the main tipology of water supply, with reference to water availability and quality. The main pollution sources and how to evaluate the pollutant loads are then presented.
The second part deals with the main wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) tipologies, with emphasis on the activated sludge, Concurrently, students are introduced to the design of simple WWTP. In addition, other WWTP typologies are synthetically presented, i.e. trickling filter, biodisk, and sequential batch reactors.
The third section presents extensive treatment plants, based on constructed wetlands. The focues is mainly on the subsurface water flow typology.
The fourth part consist in the visit and activities at the Parma west WWTP (activated sludge with denitrification) and at the wetland system of the dairy farm S. Vittoria (Carpaneto, PC).

Full programme

Water quality in relation to its uses. Main supply sources. Reference standards. Water treatments in relation to uses. The effects of pollution on surface water and groundwater. Short-circuiting of the water cycle.
Wastewater. Sources and types of pollution. Wastewaters containing organic matter , phosphorus and nitrogen. Methods for the assessment of loads (notes). Population equivalent units. Calculation of potential, delivered and real loads. Community directives, national and regional legislation (notes).
Wastewater treatment technolgies. Activated sludge treatment plant. Biological components and operation of the biological reactor. Other types of systems (notes): biological disk, trickling filters and sequential batch reactors. 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: wetlands, drainage ditches, buffer strips, cover crops.
Practice and training
1) Visit to the municipal treatment plant “Parma Ovest”, meeting and discussion with the technicians who run the system.
2) Visit to the constructed wetland of the dairy farm “S. Vittoria (Carpaneto , PC). During the visit the action taken to save water and reduce emissions will be also assessed.


Slides, short theacher notes and the manual " Berland J.-M., C. Boutin, Molle P., Cooper P., 2001. Extensive treatment processes for wastewaters. European Commission, International Water Office, Luxembourg" can be dowloaded from the ELLY section "teaching materials". http://elly.bioscienze.unipr.it/2016/course/view.php?id=121

Further information can be found in the following books available in the library of the Dipartimento di Scienze Chimiche, della Vita e della Sostenibilità Ambientale, University of Parma.
- Madoni P., 2005. Biological processes in activated sludges. ENIA, RE (in Italian).
- Romagnolli F., 2013. Phytodepuration. Sustainable 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 a written questionnaire composed by 10 questions on the following topics (1) water quality in relation to the uses, (2) qualitative and quantitative assessment of pollutant emissions of a given production activity, (3) choice and description of a wastewater treatment plant of a given production activity, (4) land management to prevent and/or reduce water pollution, (5) description of one of the two treatment plants visited. Six questions are multiple choice with a score of 1 to 3, and 4 questions are open questions with a score of 4 to 6. The outcome of the examination is communicated directly to the student concerned and, if accepted, recorded in ESSE3.

Other information

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