Laboratory of Wastewater Management and Treatment Technologies

3. Research Project: «Employing circular economy approach for OFMSW management within the Mediterranean countries (CEOMED)»

The primary objective of the Laboratory is to promote this particular field of engineering through scientific research and teaching in the Department of Environmental Engineering and other departments of the University of Thrace, at both undergraduate and postgraduate level.
Moreover, the laboratory is active in supporting the local authorities, the public and private sector to handle any issues related to the design, analysis, development and optimization of processes regarding the management, treatment, disposal and minimization of wastewater and biosolids production.
Last but not least, the organization of seminars, symposia and conferences as well as the publication of scientific articles and editions, are within the Laboratory’s priorities.Educational activities
A range of compulsory and elective courses and their associate lab courses are offered by the Laboratory staff:Compulsory courses
– Biology-Ecology
– Physical Unit Processes
– Environmental Microbiology
– Chemical and Biochemical Unit Processes
– Drinking Water Treatment Technologies
– Wastewater Management and Treatment Technologies I
– Control and Process Optimization in WWTP
– Wastewater Management and Treatment Technologies II

Elective courses
– Industrial Wastewater Treatment
– Special and Advanced Processes in WWTP
– Anaerobic Processes for Waste and Biomass Valorization
– Simulation of Biochemical Processes in Environmental Technology

Research activities
1. Research, development, optimisation and control of aerobic and anaerobic biochemical processes for wastewater treatment.
2. Research and development of technologies for biological nutrient removal.
3. Dynamic simulation and control of aerobic, anoxic and anaerobic biological processes.
4. Intelligent control of wastewater treatment plants.
5. Enhanced biogas production through anaerobic sludge digestion and co-digestion with agricultural wastewaters (olive mill effluents, wastewater from biodiesel production), by mechanical (ultra sound), chemical and biological pretreatment.
6. Development and implementation of microbial sensors for efficient process control in wastewater treatment plants.
7. Solar drying of sewage sludge and its reuse in the ceramic industry.
8. Solids handling and processing.
9. Enhanced wastewater treatment by membranes for water reuse.
10. Identification, quantification and biological treatment of micro-pollutants (pharmaceuticals and cosmetics).
11. Monitoring and identification of microbial communities in wastewater treatment plants.

The provision of laboratory services to individuals and organizations of any legal form, as specified in the Presidential Decree 159/1984 (Government Gazette Issue No 53/04.27.1984, A’) “Conditions for provision service from the university laboratories to individuals and organizations of any legal form”, includes:

1. Determination of wastewater characteristics, such as pH, COD (Chemical Oxygen Demand), BOD (Biochemical Oxygen Demand), volatile fatty acids, inorganic compounds, toxicity, etc.
2. Experimental studies on the aerobic and anaerobic biodegradability of organic compounds in wastewaters and assessment of the treatment process suitability.
3. Process design based on the kinetics of aerobic and anaerobic processes derived from lab and pilot-scale studies
4. Integration of physicochemical methods for wastewater management and optimization of WWTP
5. Generation of biogas energy via the anaerobic stabilization of sewage sludge as well as wastewaters coming from the food and fermentation industry
6. Operation and efficiency optimization of wastewater treatment plants.
7. Identification, analysis and resolution of malfunctions in existing WWTP – adaptation of the methodological approaches to meet the stricter requirements of environmental legislation.
8. Development and implementation of toxicity sensors and assays for controlling and optimizing WWTP operation.
9. Advanced wastewater treatment and water recycling (tertiary treatment).
10. H2S odor control in municipal sewerage network and in preliminary treatment facilities (coarse and fine screening and grit removal) of WWTP
11. Microbiological evaluation of the effluent quality
12. Molecular identification of activated sludge and anaerobic biomass microbiota

Laboratory’s Infrastructure
The Laboratory of Wastewater Management and Treatment Technologies (Democritus University of Thrace) is equipped with several lab- and pilot-scale bioreactors (more than 40), accompanied with pumps, stirrers, gas flow meters, biogas analyzers, air-compressors, time controllers, electrical valves, sonicators/cell disrupters, pH-controllers, water baths, ion selective electrodes as well as membrane filtration, reverse osmosis and jar test apparatuses.
The analytical instrumentation of the Laboratory includes (1) GC-MS, (1) GC, spectrophotometers (VIS and double beam UV/VIS), Kjeldahl digesters and distillation apparatus, centrifuges, equipment for COD and BOD analysis, pH-, EC- and O2-analyzers, ovens, glassware etc. In addition, the lab possesses the equipment for applying specific techniques such as solid phase extraction (SPE), solid phase micro-extraction (SPME), head-space SPME, liquid-liquid micro-extraction (LLME), for improving the analysis of micropollutants.
A modern microbiology lab equipment, like fluorescent microscope (Zeiss Axiostar plus), gradient PCR (TaKaRa), TGGE equipment (Biometra – TGGE MAXI), UV transilluminator-cabinet and photographic system (MS-Major Science), class II A microbiological safety cabinet (Telstar Bio IIA), freezer at -80oC (Elcold, Denmark), optical and phase-contrast microscopes (Olympus), electrophoresis tanks (Cleaver LTD), microcentrifuges (Kubota 3500 & Heraeus), incubators (GFL, Memmert & Merk), autoclaves (Tuttnauer & CertoClav), micropipettes (Gilsons & Orange Scientific), shaker (Edmund Buhler) etc, is also included.
The infrastructure of our laboratory also includes dedicated equipment for control and automation for on-line monitoring and control in situ of the biochemical reactions such as WTW 2020 controller, PLC, SCADA and sensors like ammonium, nitrate, oxidation-reduction potential, DO and pH.
The laboratory’s area consists of two buildings of 50 and 90 m2 and the total equipment entails a cost of about 1.000.000 Euro. The lab staff has all the necessary technical and scientific know-how and experience to conduct all the experimental research regarding wastewater treatment and valorization.

Laboratory staff
Alexander Aivasidis, Professor
Paraschos Melidis, Associate Professor
Katerina Stamatelatou, Assistant Professor
Spyridon Ntougias, Assistant Professor

Vasileios Diamantis, Specialized and Laboratory Teaching Staff
Stergiani Piadou, Special Technical Laboratory Staff
Ioannis Papaspyros, Special Technical Laboratory Staff

Ph.D. Students
Nikolaos Remmas
Vasiliki Tataki
Athanasios Beziriannidis
Despoina Soultani
Efstathia Navrozidou
Konstantinos Azis
Alexandros Eftaxias

Contact address:
Profeesor A. Aivasidis, Director
Vas. Sofias 12, 67100 Xanthi, Greece
Tel.: +30 2541079375; email:

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