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Overview
The Institute for Water and Wastewater Technology based at the Durban University of Technology has developed into a “Centre of Excellence” and proficiency. The focus is largely based on developing and optimising technology for the treatment of water and wastewater and to satisfy the needs of industry and the community. Research projects are selected and designed in close consultation with industrial partners. Projects are mainly aimed at helping industries maintain acceptable levels of effluent discharges, thus reducing negative environmental impact and commercialisation of products generated from waste streams. The strength of the Institute lies in the development of essential skills through student training, to satisfy the much needed human resource needs of the water sector (including industry) in South Africa. A large proportion of these students come from previously disadvantaged communities.

Vision
First port of call for water and wastewater research regionally and nationally.

Research Focus
Developing and optimising world class technology for local application.

Management
Prof F Bux (Director)
Dr SK Sheena Kumari (Research Fellow)
Dr N Ramdhani (Senior Researcher)

Team Members
Prof F Otieno (DVC: Technology Innovation Partnership)
Prof T A Stenström (SARChI Chair)
Prof K Bisetty (Chemistry)
Dr F Swalaha (Biotechnology)
Dr J Adeyemo (Civil Engineering)
Dr P Reddy (Environmental Health)
Mr S Ramluckan (Chemistry)

Post-Doctoral Fellows (2012 - current)
Dr S Kumar Gupta
Dr N Sahoo
Dr R Misra
Dr P K Panday

To date the IWWT has hosted 11 Post-Doctoral Fellows from reputable international institutions, 14 Doctoral students, 30 Masters and 45 BTech students. Publishing research articles are a core part of the research carried out at the Institute with a total of 51 research articles, 3 book chapters and numerous technical reports being published and local and international conference presentations.

Postgraduate Studies
Due to the multi-disciplinary nature of the research, the Institute accepts postgraduate students whose qualifications are registered in a variety of departments such as biotechnology, chemistry, civil and chemical engineering and environmental health. IWWT post graduate student base comprises local as well as international students. Postgraduate students are trained and developed to satisfy the water and wastewater human resource needs of industry in general. Staff members are further trained by attending workshops and courses as well as international visits to the laboratories of our collaborating partners.

Research Areas
The focus of research at IWWT is within the broad areas of water treatment, wastewater treatment and beneficiation and algal biotechnology. Emphasis is targeted towards developing and adapting technology for local application with the target recipients being Industry, water utilities, local government and the community. Projects include:

Water Treatment
Application of membrane systems for water treatment
Developing rainwater harvesting technology
Water quality analysis
Water quality modelling - Research Group Start-up Workshop

Wastewater treatment and beneficiation
Establishing a microbial database of functional groups in full scale wastewater treatment
Trouble- shooting in full scale wastewater treatment processes
Microbial contribution to Biological nutrient removal in activated sludge systems
Elucidation of filamentous bulking and remedial measures
Evaluation of constructed wetlands for wastewater and storm-water treatment
Microbial population dynamics in anaerobic processes treating wastewater
Wastewater reuse

Algal Biotechnology
Biodiesel production using micro-algae
Bioprospecting for algae that produce oil and other high value products
Evaluating the carbon dioxide sequestration potential of algae from flue gas
Application of algae in wastewater treatment

SARChI Chairs’ Project Themes
Improving the understanding of microbial action in full-scale biological wastewater treatment facilities with the intention of optimization and trouble shooting
Developing and adapting low-cost alternative wastewater treatment technology for rural and peri-urban application
Utilization of lipid producing microalgae for the tertiary/polishing of final effluent from domestic wastewater
Catchment and technology-(toolbox) based integration of health, well-being and environment
Wastewater treatment and reuse for crop and energy production

Collaborations
Due to the nature of the research undertaken the IWWT has close links with a number of partners.

  • Local Government and municipalities
  • Water utilities throughout South Africa
  • Major industries both regionally and nationally
  • Local communities and NGOs

There is also interaction and collaboration between the IWWT and other universities:
Due to the nature of our research, personnel from the IWWT have established collaboration with various universities and science councils in South Africa and abroad. Staff and postgraduate students spend periods at the laboratories of our international partners facilitating valuable transfer of the latest technology. In addition we regularly host visiting scientists at our laboratories.