A critical comparison of systematic calibration protocols for activated sludge models: A SWOT analysis

Gürkan Sin, SWH van Hulle, DJW de Pauw, A van Griensven, PA Vanrolleghem

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Modelling activated sludge systems has gained an increasing momentum after the introduction of activated sludge models (ASMs) in 1987. Application of dynamic models for full-scale systems requires essentially a calibration of the chosen ASM to the case under study. Numerous full-scale model applications have been performed so far which were mostly based on ad hoc approaches and expert knowledge. Further, each modelling study has followed a different calibration approach: e.g. different influent wastewater characterization methods, different kinetic parameter estimation methods, different selection of parameters to be calibrated, different priorities within the calibration steps, etc. In short, there was no standard approach in performing the calibration study, which makes it difficult, if not impossible, to (1) compare different calibrations of ASMs with each other and (2) perform internal quality checks for each calibration study. To address these concerns, systematic calibration protocols have recently been proposed to bring guidance to the modeling of activated sludge systems and in particular to the calibration of full-scale models. In this contribution four existing calibration approaches (BIOMATH, HSG, STOWA and WERF) will be critically discussed using a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis. It will also be assessed in what way these approaches can be further developed in view of further improving the quality of ASM calibration. In this respect, the potential of automating some steps of the calibration procedure by use of mathematical algorithms is highlighted. (c) 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
JournalWater Research
Issue number12
Pages (from-to)2459-2474
Publication statusPublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes


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