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Best Books

Updated: May 16, 2022

Recommended Wastewater Treatment Textbooks

I get asked now and then what the best books are for learning more about wastewater treatment. There are many, many excellent technical references available but here I want to highlight just those that I find myself coming back to most often. My work brings me into both industrial and municipal plants so many of the books you find here will be particularly helpful for those of you who also work in an industrial wastewater treatment environment.

Reading a book


Current Recommendation

A review will be coming soon. In the meantime I encourage you to add this recently published book to your technical library. I think you will find yourself repeatedly using this excellent textbook as your preferred wastewater reference for a long time to come!!

Dr. Wahlberg's recently published book


For Wastewater Treatment

Henze, Mogens, Mark C.M. Loosdrecht, George A. Ekama, and Damir Brdjanovic. Biological Wastewater Treatment: Principles, Modelling and Design. London: IWA Publishing, 2008.

A superb textbook that I reference often. This is an advanced text so you won't find it to be the easiest to read. But the effort you put into working your way through this book will be rewarding, adding to your knowledge and insight of wastewater treatment.


Berne, F. and J. Cordonnier. Industrial Water Treatment: Refining, Petrochemicals and Gas Processing Techniques. Houston: Gulf Publishing Company, 1995.

Bratby, John. Coagulation and Flocculation in Water and Wastewater Treatment. 2nd ed. London, UK: IWA Publishing, 2006.

The following is a series of books from Michael H. Gerardi. I encourage you to get all of these. I refer to them over and over again. For the practicing operator you won't find a better source of information you can use in your daily wastewater activities.

Gerardi, Michael H. Nitrification and Denitrification in the Activated Sludge Process. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2002.

---. Settleability Problems and Loss of Solids in the Activated Sludge Process. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2002.

---. The Microbiology of Anaerobic Digesters. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2003.

---. Wastewater Bacteria. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2006.

---. Microscopic Examination of the Activated Sludge Process. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2008.

---. Troubleshooting the Sequencing Batch Reactor. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2010.


Grady, C. P. Leslie Jr., Glen T. Daigger, and Henry C. Lim. Biological Wastewater Treatment. 2nd ed. New York: Marcel Dekker, Inc. 1999.

IWA Task Group. Respirometry in Control of the Activated Sludge Process: Benchmarking Control Strategies. Scientific and Technical Report No. 11. London, UK: IWA Publishing, 2002.

---. Activated Sludge Separation Problems: Theory, Control Measures, Practical Experience. Scientific and Technical Report No. 16. London, UK: IWA Publishing, 2008.

Jenkins, David, Michael G. Richard, and Glen T. Daigger. Manual on the Causes and Control of Activated Sludge Bulking, Foaming, and Other Solids Separation Problems. 3rd ed. Boca Raton: CRC Press, 2004.

Kim, Yong H. Coagulants and Flocculants. Littleton, CO: Tall Oaks Publishing, 1995.

Lee, C. C. and Shun Dar Lin. Handbook of Environmental Engineering Calculations. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2000.

Metcalf & Eddy. Wastewater Engineering: Treatment and Reuse. 4th ed. Boston: McGraw-Hill, 2003.


Nalco Company. The Nalco Water Handbook. 3rd ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2009.

This is a great, very-easy-to-read, reference book that covers so many different water and wastewater treatment topics. A book I include whenever I'm doing research


Sanin, F. Dilek, William W. Clarkson, and P. Aarne Vesilind. Sludge Engineering: The Treatment and Disposal of Wastewater Sludges. Lancaster, Pennsylvania: 2011.

Spellman, Frank R. and Joanne E. Drinan. Wastewater Stabilization Ponds. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 2014.

Turovskiy, Izrail S. and P. K. Mathai. Wastewater Sludge Processing. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2006.

United States Environmental Protection Agency. Design Manual for Municipal Wastewater Stabilization Ponds. 1983.

Young, James C. and Robert M. Cowan. Respirometry for Environmental Science and Engineering. Springdale, AR: SJ Enterprises, 2004


IWA Publishing - Biological Wastewater Treatment Series - Six Book Collection

Andreoli, Cleverson Vitorio and Carlos Augusto de Lemos Chernicharo. Sludge Treatment and Disposal. Volume 6. London: IWA Publishing, 2007.

de Lemos Chernicharo, Carlos Augusto. Anaerobic Reactors. Volume 4. London: IWA Publishing, 2007.

von Sperling, Marcos. Wastewater Characteristics, Treatment and Disposal. Volume 1. London: IWA Publishing, 2007.

---. Basic Principles of Wastewater Treatment. Volume 2. London: IWA Publishing, 2007.

---. Waste Stabilisation Ponds. Volume 3. London: IWA Publishing, 2007.

---. Activated Sludge and Aerobic Biofilm Reactors. Volume 5. London: IWA Publishing, 2007.

The books listed above from IWA Publishing are free to download as PDF files below. This is very generous on the part of IWA to make these excellent references available to everyone at no charge. I actually bought all of these textbooks before they became freely available. Now I keep a copy of these on my computer. You should do the same.

International Water Association

You can download the IWA series of six wastewater reference books as PDF files by clicking on each image below.

Volume 1

IWA - Volume 1

Volume 2

IWA - Volume 2

Volume 3

IWA - Volume 3

Volume 4

IWA - Volume 4

Volume 5

IWA - Volume 5

Volume 6

IWA - Volume 6

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