The 10th dex summer school was held from the 30th of June to the 5th of July, 2019 in Rottenbach/Upper Austria at the headquarter of the dex supporting member VTA. In this article, attendee MSc Katarina Knezevic gratefully shares her experiences on the 10th dex summer school with us.
Sunday, 30th June 2019
On the warm Sunday we arrived at the cosy accommodation in Geboltskirchen where we had even warmer welcoming. Teaching committee from Germany and Austria greeted participants from Russia, Ukraine, Germany, Belarus, Poland, Serbia, India, Romania, Eritrea, Albania, Austria and Slovenia before the dinner started. Professor Wolfgang Günthert held an opening speech and the summer school officially started with pleasant discussion over the dining tables.
Monday, 1st July 2019
After Professor Wolfgang Günthert introduced us to the detailed program of the course, the first presentation from Professor Norbert Jardin with the topic: “Planning and Construction of waste water treatment systems” began. Professor Thomas Ertl held a presentation about “Sewage Master Plan”.
Tuesday, 2nd July 2019
Our professor Norbert Mache, from Technical University of Vienna, together with Research Assistant Katarina Knezevic and Dr. Antonia Fleischhacker from VTA, presented laboratory methods for investigation of activated sludge. After this exercise, all attendants got familiar how to calculate sludge volume index (SVI), determine oxygen demand of activated sludge (respiration measurements), do microscopic analysis of activated sludge and basic chemical analysis for measuring ammonium, nitrite and nitrate concentrations in wastewater. Professor Wolfgang Günthert gave a lecture: “Primary and secondary settling tanks and sludge mass balance”.
Wednesday, 3rd July 2019.
Professor Karl-Heinz Resenwinkel taught: “Anaerobic waste- and process water treatment” and Professor Norbert Dichtl presented “Sludge treatment and disposal”. Knowledge gained from these two lectures and from first two days was practically connected with a professional excursion to the “Haag wastewater treatment plant”, near Linz. Our leaders made sure to translate everything in English and explain the working methods in situ, making it easy to understand to everyone.
Thursday, 4th July 2019
Professor Marc Wichern held a lecture about simulation methods and principles of thinking for making different models. He pointed out the increasing implementation of simulations for various environmental conditions with the presentation: ”Design and dynamic simulation of activated sludge plants for non-European climatic conditions”. Following lecture was from our head of the Institute for Water Quality and Resource Management, Professor Jörg Krampe, about “Energy considerations for WWTPs”, highlighting efficiency problems within WWTPs and depicting them with realistic examples. Thursday was a perfect day for a turnover, after so many conductive lectures the whole class together with professors went to a cultural excursion in Linz. Sightseeing and a dinner in typical Austrian restaurant with traditional Austrian food refreshed and prepared everyone for the next, final day.
Friday, 5th July 2019
“Membrane technology” lecture from Professor Franz-Bernd Frechen gave at large an overview of membrane types, characteristics and usage. Professor Helmuth Kroiss, also from the Institute for Water Quality and Resource Management held the final presentation “Urban water management-global aspect”. Hereby he discussed about global regulations, problems and water scarcities. Closing ceremony finalized the dex Summer School and 6 days of learning and companionship. All student got certificates for successfully finisher course and a present from VTA company.
All presentations were very comprehensive and suitable for post-graduate and doctoral students and for young water professionals from consulting companies, utilities and equipment suppliers. The combination of attendants from different working fields is especially beneficial during this course. Based on the questions proposed by students, it can be realised what are the main problems within the operating wastewater treatment plants so the scientific cadre can be aware of present state. On the other hand, students and wastewater treatment operators can better understand the principles of wastewater treatment, from inflow to effluent, how to maintain all the processes and how to deal with unexpected situations with heavy rains and high loads, etc. Beside the focus on the processes, what can find a very good usage are the lectures about planning, constructing and managing together with design and dynamic simulations. Appling knowledge gained from this sphere for improving individual wastewater treatment plants can significantly decrease the energy consumption and thus reduce economic expenses. During this course is also raised awareness of global health problems caused by insufficient or inadequate treated wastewater discharge into water bodies and drinking water scarcities worldwide. Another benefit of this summer school is international networking of water professionals and enhanced teamwork, due to new ideas and collaborations could rise up. For this relatively short time, participants and professors created a positive energy environment, exchanged experiences and knowledge, and thus learned a lot.
Hereby is inevitably important to express gratitude to Robert Hossfeld, the chief executive of the German Experts Association for Environmental Technology and Infrastructure, who did not give any lecture but was always present and coordinating workflow from last rows, making sure everything goes smooth and everyone is satisfied. Great thanks goes to the host and chief executive of the VTA, Ulrich Kubinger, with his supporting staff, as well as to the all named professors, who were willing to share their knowledge. Thanks goes also to all dex Summer Schools participants. We are looking forward to the next, 11th dex Summer School and new experiences.
MSc Katarina Knezevic