Increasingly stringent effluent limits and an expanding scope of model system boundaries beyond activated sludge has led to new modelling objectives and consequently to new and often more detailed modelling concepts. Nearly three decades after the publication of Activated Sludge Model No1 (ASM1), the authors believe it is time to re-evaluate wastewater characterisation procedures and targets. The present position paper gives a brief overview of state-of-the-art methods and discusses newly developed measurement techniques on a conceptual level. Potential future paths are presented including on-line instrumentation, promising measuring techniques, and mathematical solutions to fractionation problems. This is accompanied by a discussion on standardisation needs to increase modelling efficiency in our industry.