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Multimedia Tour Of A Wastewater Treatment Plant

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1998 Annual Conference


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 28, 1998

Start Date

June 28, 1998

End Date

July 1, 1998



Page Count


Page Numbers

3.417.1 - 3.417.7

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Paper Authors

author page

R. Bruce Robinson

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 3151


R. Bruce Robinson, Ph.D., P.E. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Summary: This paper describes the operation and development of a CD-ROM based multimedia tour of a wastewater plant which will be used as a teaching tool in an introductory water and wastewater treatment course in the Civil Engineering Department at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. In the CD-ROM software, the student clicks on 3-D icons representing the various treatment processes of a typical activated sludge wastewater treatment plant. Upon clicking a process, the student can view slides and video clips with audio that show the actual treatment units along with written annotation. The software also includes a glossary of terms.

Introduction: Undergraduate Civil Engineering students at the University of Tennessee take an introductory course in water and wastewater treatment and take a field trip to see treatment facilities first hand. For practical reasons, only one trip to a wastewater plant is taken in the course and comes after the students have learned about wastewater treatment. Often the field trip is crowded and many students can not hear what the host is saying. Desirably, the students would be able to see pictures and video of real facilities and receive narration while they are learning about wastewater treatment and then be able to review what they’ve seen after the trip. This paper describes the development of such a “virtual field trip” of a wastewater plant. Because the software is approximately 380 MB in size, it is written on a CD-ROM.

Operation of the software: The opening screen is shown in figure 1. The inset photo on the lower right of figure 1 is a video of a chlorination basin weir with sound which plays during the opening screen. By clicking the continue button, the user brings up the overall navigation screen shown in figure 2 which is diagram of a typical activated sludge treatment plant. The student clicks on one of the unit process icons to display a short description of that unit process. For example, clicking on the aeration tank icon reveals figure 3 which is a short description of aeration tanks. The student can click on any of the highlighted terms, e.g., MLSS, to see a definition or discussion of that term. Navigation buttons at the bottom of the figure allow the student to see the next or previous process in the treatment train. The student can also click on the “PHOTOS & VIDEOS” icon to see a list of photos and videos of aeration tanks as shown in figure 4. Two of the Knoxville Utilities Board’s (KUB) wastewater plants were used as examples for the photos and videos. The student clicks on one of the listed photos or videos to see examples of actual equipment or processes. For example, figure 5 shows a surface aerator. Each photo or video uses text to describe important features of the equipment or process. On several screens, there is also a glossary icon that brings up a scrolling list of terms. Clicking on a term shows a short definition or discussion of the term. An overall program flowchart is shown in the appendix.

Robinson, R. B. (1998, June), Multimedia Tour Of A Wastewater Treatment Plant Paper presented at 1998 Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington.

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