In this paper, the practical implementation and validation of advanced control strategies, designed using model based techniques, at an industrial wastewater treatment plant is demonstrated. The plant under study is treating the wastewater of a large pharmaceutical production facility. The process characteristics of the wastewater treatment were quantified by means of tracer tests, intensive measurement campaigns and the use of on-line sensors. In parallel, a dynamical model of the complete wastewater plant was developed according to the specific kinetic characteristics of the sludge and the highly varying composition of the industrial wastewater. Based on real-time data and dynamic models, control strategies for the equalisation system, the polymer dosing and phosphorus addition were established. The control strategies are being integrated in the existing SCADA system combining traditional PLC technology with robust PC based control calculations. The use of intelligent control in wastewater treatment offers a wide spectrum of possibilities to upgrade existing plants, to increase the capacity of the plant and to eliminate peaks. This can result in a more stable and secure overall performance and, finally, in cost savings. The use of on-line sensors has a potential not only for monitoring concentrations, but also for manipulating flows and concentrations. This way the performance of the plant can be secured.

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