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Kalamazoo, Michigan

305 Burrows Rd.,
Kalamazoo, Michigan,

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In the mid 90s, work began on the development of a simulation-based protocol (a ‘simulation benchmark’) that would be used for the objective comparison and evaluation of wastewater treatment plant control strategies. The work was initiated by the ICA Specialist Group (IWA Task Group on Respirometry, in particular) in cooperation with the EU COST Action 682. The reason for initiating this work was that numerous control strategies had been proposed in the literature. However, the literature did not provide a clear basis for comparison of these strategies because of the many confounding influences that have an impact on the system. The cooperation of the IWA Task Group and COST Actions resulted in the development of a ‘benchmark protocol’ called the Benchmark Simulation Model no. 1 (BSM1), which enables the unbiased evaluation of activated sludge control strategies related to organic and nitrogen removal. The IWA Task Group on Respirometry published an early version of the simulation benchmark in STR#11, but work on the benchmark continued within the COST Actions 682 and 624 until COST Action 624 ended in June 2004.

As a result of the interest from the scientific community and because benchmark users have identified a number of limitations in the current protocol, the goal of the benchmark developers has been extended. The goal of the current Task Group includes developing tools that encompass other processes within a wastewater treatment system (primary treatment, sludge treatment, etc.) as well as tools that will enable the evaluation of long-term control strategies and monitoring tasks (i.e. the automatic detection of sensor and process faults). Work on these extensions has already been initiated and is the current focus of the work related to Benchmark Simulation Model no.1 Long-Term (BSM1_LT) and Benchmark Simulation Model no.2 (BSM2). Other extensions are also being considered, such as chemical precipitation, enhanced biological phosphorus removal and reactive settling (BSM3).

Goal of the Task Group

The goal of the task group is to promote the use of the benchmark simulation protocols described above and produce a Scientific and Technical Report (part of IWA Publishing’s series). The task group will maintain a web-site for publication of on-going activities (www.benchmarkwwtp.org – already in existence). Interest in the benchmark protocols has been extensive and the web site is seen as the best platform for communication with interested parties including getting feedback and getting input from benchmark users whether they are experienced users or just getting started. Dissemination of results as well as inviting the research community to comment and influence the direction of the work will also be initiated via conferences and workshops.


The Task Group has already met at several occasions, providing two open sessions at the 2nd IWA ICA conference in Busan, Korea, 2005 and at the 1st international ADM1 workshop in Copenhagen, Denmark, 2005, respectively, to guarantee that the work is generally accepted and relevant. Future workshops will be organised in conjunction with suitable conferences in addition to the internal work meetings held on a regular basis. The final results of the Task Group were presented at the IWA World Water Congress and Exhibition in September, Vienna, Austria, 2008 and teh Scientific and Technical Report is due to be published in early 2012.

IWA Website



– Copp J. B., Jeppsson U. and Vanrolleghem P. A. (2008) The Benchmark Simulation Models – A valuable collection of modelling tools. iEMSs 2008: International Congress on Environmental Assessment and Decision Making, Barcelona, Spain. July 7-10, 2008.
– Copp J. B., Jeppsson U., Pons M-N, Nopens I, Alex J., Gernaey K. V., Rosen C., Steyer J-P and Vanrolleghem P. A. (2008) Benchmark Simulation Model No 2 – General protocol and advances in modelling application. WWTmod2008, 1st IWA/WEF Wastewater Treatment Modelling Seminar, Mont-Sainte-Anne, Quebec, Canada. June 1-3, 2008.
– Copp J.B. et al. (2002) Respirometry in Control of the Activated Sludge Process: Benchmarking Control Strategies, IWA Scientific and Technical Report No. 11, edited by John B. Copp, Henri Spanjers & Peter Vanrolleghem. IWA Publishing, London UK. (192 pages) ISBN 19-002-2251-5.
– Copp J.B. editor (2001) The COST Simulation Benchmark: Description and Simulator Manual, Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, Luxembourg (144 pages) ISBN 92-894-1658-0.