Many cities need to build compact wastewater treatment plants because of lack of land. This paper discusses compact treatment methods. An enhanced primary treatment process based on coarse media filtration is analysed. A high-rate secondary wastewater treatment process has specifically been investigated, consisting of a highly loaded moving bed biofilm reactor directly followed by a coagulation and floc separation step. The objective with this high-rate process is to meet secondary treatment effluent standards at a minimum use of chemicals, minimum sludge production and minimum footprint. It is demonstrated that the biofilm in the bioreactor mainly deals with the soluble organic matter while coagulation deals with the colloidal matter. The bioreactor may, therefore, be designed based on the soluble COD loading only, resulting in a very compact plant when a compact biomass/floc separation reactor (i.e. flotation or direct filtration) is used. The paper reports specifically on the coagulant choice in flotation and filter run time in direct filtration.