Three control strategies allowing improved operational flexibility of an alternating type activated sludge process are presented in a unified model based framework. The control handles employed are the addition rate of an external carbon source to denitrification, the cycle length, and the dissolved oxygen level during aerobic periods. All three strategies attempt to satisfy a common control criterion representing optimal performance over the time length of one process cycle (typically I to 3 hours) and are based on models developed from simple mass balances or which have been experimentally determined. The effects of the strategies on short term nitrogen dynamics are explained in terms of the potential and capacity of denitrification. The relative effectiveness of the strategies are compared and where the strategies would be located in a hierarchical control structure is discussed. Copyright (C) 1996 IAWQ.