Professor George Ekama of the University of Cape Town has been recognised as an IWA Distinguished Fellow. The award was made in light of his “outstanding, unique and long term contributions to the water sector and to the International Water Association”.
Ekama has 40 years of research experience into bioprocess engineering of aerobic and anaerobic wastewater and solids treatment systems at the University of Cape Town, where some of the original biological nitrogen and phosphorus removal kinetic simulation modelling research was done in the 1980s, which found its way into activated sludge models 1 and 2.
“I really appreciate being recognised by my peers,” Ekama told The Source from Cape Town. “I was very fortunate to start in a new and fledgling field and I grew with the field as it expanded.”
Over the years Ekama has been at the forefront of developments in biological nitrogen removal activated sludge systems modelling, filamentous bulking, secondary settling tank design and modelling and anaerobic systems.
Ekama noted that, although he has seen great advances over the years in biological nutrient removal activated sludge based wastewater treatment plants, a big shift is needed.
“It is not ultimately going to [reduce] the thirst for water and stem the hunger for resources of burgeoning cities in a water and resource scarce future,” he added. “A paradigm shift is required that makes a step change that will make a big difference from which then small incremental improvements can again be made.”
A member of the International Water Association since 1984, Professor Ekama has published 45 articles in Water Science and Technology as well as 24 articles in Water Research; his book, Biological wastewater treatment–Principles, modelling and design, has been translated into Spanish, Chinese and Arabic, and has become the second best seller from IWA Publishing.
Over the years Ekama has been at the forefront of developments in biological nitrogen removal, activated sludge systems modelling, filamentous bulking, secondary settling tank design and modelling and anaerobic systems
Professor Ekama has been an active participant in several IWA Specialist Groups, including the Nutrient Removal and Recovery, Anaerobic Digestion and Design, Operation and Costs of Large Wastewater Treatment Plants Specialist Groups. He is co-author of four of the IWA Scientific and Technical Reports on activated sludge modelling, community analysis and secondary settling tanks.