We describe a framework in which a genetic algorithm (GA) and a static activated sludge (AS) treatment plant design model (WRC AS model) are used to identify low cost activated sludge designs that meet specified effluent limits (e.g. for BOD, N, and P). Once the user has chosen a particular process (Bardenpho, Biodenipho, UCT or SBR), this approach allows the parameterizations for each AS unit process to be optimized systematically and simultaneously. The approach is demonstrated for a wastewater treatment plant design problem and the GA-based performance is compared to that of a classical nonlinear optimization approach. The use of GAs for multiobjective problems such as AS design is demonstrated and their application for reliability-based design and alternative generation is discussed.

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