Water and wastewater treatment is a broad research area that incorporates the study of physical, chemical and biological processes used to remove and/or transform dissolved, colloidal or particulate inert and biological matter to produce water of a suitable quality for the desired end use. Investigations seek to optimise existing processes or research novel technologies with the objective of improving removal efficiency, energy efficiency and/or overall process sustainability. The application of such research helps ensure that:

  • public and environmental health is maintained
  • there is adequate water supply despite periods of prolonged drought or population growth
  • valuable resources contained in used water are reclaimed and reused, including nutrients, energy and water itself.

Research in water and wastewater treatment is thus crucial in the effective and sustainable management of the urban water cycle.

The multi-disciplinary nature of the topic results in overlap with many other research programmes at the Centre. Current water and wastewater treatment projects in the Water Research Centre include:

  • Optimising dissolved air flotation (DAF) for algae removal by bubble modification in drinking water and advanced wastewater treatment systems.
  • An investigation of algal floc properties in treatment plants.
  • Fouling control in hybrid membranes.
  • Optimising decentralised membrane bioreactors for water reuse.
  • Fluorescence as a tool for sensitive detection of failures in recycled water treatment and distribution systems.
  • Monitoring organic matter in drinking water systems using fluorescence spectroscopy.
  • Advanced characterisation of organic matter in desalination pretreatment.
  • Advanced characterisation of dissolved organic nitrogen in drinking water sources.


  • David Waite
  • Bruce Ni
  • Brett Miller
  • Richard Stuetz
  • Bojan Tamburic