Predicting quality parameters of wastewater treatment plants using artificial intelligence techniques

Ehsan Aghdam, Saeed Reza Mohandes, Patrick Manu, Clara Cheung, Akilu Yunusa-Kaltungo, Tarek Zayed

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Estimating wastewater treatment plants’ (WWTPs) influent parameters such as 5-day biological oxygen demand (BOD5) and chemical oxygen demand (COD) is vital for optimizing electricity and energy consumption. Against this backdrop, the existing body of knowledge is bereft of a study employing Artificial Intelligence-based techniques for the prediction of BOD5 and COD. Thus, in this study, Gene expression programming (GEP), multilayer perception neural networks, multi-linear regression, k-nearest neighbors, gradient boosting, and regression trees -based models were trained for predicting BOD5 and COD, using monthly data collected from the inflow of 7 WWTPs over a three-year period in Hong Kong. Based on different statistical parameters, GEP provides more accurate estimations, with R2 values of 0.784 and 0.861 for BOD5 and COD respectively. Furthermore, results of sensitivity analysis undertaken by monte Carlo simulation revealed that both BOD5 and COD were mostly affected by concentrations of total suspended solids, and a 10% increase in the value of TSS resulted in a 7.94% and 7.92% increase in the values of BOD5 and COD, respectively. It is seen that the GEP modeling results complied with the fundamental chemistry of the wastewater quality parameters and can be further applied on other sewage sources such as industrial sewage and leachate. The promising results obtained pave the way for forecasting the operational parameters during sludge processing, leading to an extensive energy savings during the wastewater treatment processes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number137019
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2023


  • AI models
  • Artificial neural networks
  • Gene expression programming
  • Monte Carlo simulation
  • Wastewater quality parameters

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Building and Construction
  • General Environmental Science
  • Strategy and Management
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Predicting quality parameters of wastewater treatment plants using artificial intelligence techniques'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this