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MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development

global challenges, engineering solutions

Decentralised Wastewater Treatment to Meet the Requirements of Rapid Development Areas

Caroline Roques (nee Bicocchi)

Decentralised Wastewater Treatment to Meet the Requirements of Rapid Development Areas

Areas subject to rapid development have to deal with increases in the production of wastewater. It is unlikely that existing treatment facilities will be able to cope with this augmentation in effluent volume, therefore new technologies and approaches must be considered in order to overcome any potential issues.

After an historical and technical review of the current centralised systems, the dissertation will present some decentralised systems. These small scale treatment plants allow better local management of wastewater flows and opportunities for water reuse and nutrients recycling.  Two assessments have been realised to evaluate their respective impacts in terms of risk and sustainability compared to the existing system. A multi-criteria analysis has also been carried out to combine the results obtained thanks to these two different appraisals and to determine which option is the “best solution”.

Finally, two case studies, in the UK and in France, have been realised to evaluate how decentralised technologies could help to prevent environmental damage due to overloading or flooding issues.

Course Overview



The need to engage in better problem definition through careful dialogue with all stakeholder groups and a proper recognition of context.


An ability to work with specialists from other disciplines and professional groups acknowledging that technical innovation and business skills also must be understood, nurtured and combined as precursors to the successful implementation of sustainable solutions.


An understanding of mechanisms for managing change in organisations so future engineers are equipped to play a leadership role.


An awareness of a range of assessment frameworks, sustainability metrics and methodologies such as Life Cycle Analysis, Systems Dynamics, Multi-Criteria Decision making and Impact Assessment.