Deep learning in wastewater treatment: a critical review

Maira Alvi, Damien Batstone, Christian Kazadi Mbamba, Philip Keymer, Tim French, Andrew Ward, Jason Dwyer, Rachel Cardell-Oliver

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Modeling wastewater processes supports tasks such as process prediction, soft sensing, data analysis and computer assisted design of wastewater systems. Wastewater treatment processes are large, complex processes, with multiple controlling mechanisms, a high degree of disturbance variability and non-linear (generally stable) behavior with multiple internal recycle loops. Semi-mechanistic biochemical models currently dominate research and application, with data-driven deep learning models emerging as an alternative and supplementary approach. But these modeling approaches have grown in separate communities of research and practice, and so there is limited appreciation of the strengths, weaknesses, contrasts and similarities between the methods. This review addresses that gap by providing a detailed guide to deep learning methods and their application to wastewater process modeling. The review is aimed at wastewater modeling experts who are familiar with established mechanistic modeling approach, and are curious about the opportunities and challenges afforded by deep learning methods. We conclude with a discussion and needs analysis on the value of different ways of modeling wastewater processes and open research problems.

Original languageEnglish
Article number120518
JournalWater Research
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2023

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