The wastewater industry is currently facing dramatic changes, shifting away from energy-intensive wastewater treatment towards low-energy, sustainable technologies capable of achieving energy positive operation and resource recovery. The latter will shift the focus of the wastewater industry to how one could manage and extract resources from the wastewater, as opposed to the conventional paradigm of treatment. Debatable questions arise: can the more complex models be calibrated, or will additional unknowns be introduced? After almost 30 years using well-known International Water Association (IWA) models, should the community move to other components, processes, or model structures like ‘black box’ models, computational fluid dynamics techniques, etc.? Can new data sources – e.g. on-line sensor data, chemical and molecular analyses, new analytical techniques, off-gas analysis – keep up with the increasing process complexity? Are different methods for data management, data reconciliation, and fault detection mature enough for coping with such a large amount of information? Are the available calibration techniques able to cope with such complex models? This paper describes the thoughts and opinions collected during the closing session of the 6th IWA/WEF Water Resource Recovery Modelling Seminar 2018. It presents a concerted and collective effort by individuals from many different sectors of the wastewater industry to offer past and present insights, as well as an outlook into the future of wastewater modelling.

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