Dr. Bruce Rittmann
Director, Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology
Regents' Professor, School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment
The LET conference moves around the world so that water engineers and scientists in all parts of the globe have access to the latest information and top-flight experts. This year’s LET was in Abu Dhabi, the first time that it has been in the Middle East. Other recent LETs were in Bordeaux (2013), Brisbane (2012), Amsterdam (2011), and Phoenix (2010).
Another important aspect is that the topics are chosen so that they are a mix of those most pressing on the global stage and also those immediately relevant to the region. For example, the Abu Dhabi conference featured session on “Low-Energy and Renewable-Energy-Driven Desalination” and “Managed Aquifer Recharge,” both of which are of obvious importance to the Middle East. In the same vein, plenary speakers included Dr. Jacqueline MacDonald-Gibson (University of North Carolina) on “Environmental Risks to Public Health in the United Arab Emirates” and Dr. Samer Adham (ConocoPhilips) on “Application of Advanced Water Treatment Technologies for the Oil & Gas Industry.” Globally pressing themes were highlighted in sessions on “Towards Energy-Positive Wastewater Treatment” and “New Directions and Technology Trends in Water Reclamation and Reuse,” as well as Dr. Mark van Loosdrecht’s (Technical University of Delft) plenary talk on “Recovery of Chemicals from Waste and Wastewater Treatment.”
Dr. Peter Fox (School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment) organized the technical session on Managed Aquifer Recharge and was member of the Program Committee. Dr. Fox is a leader expert on aquifer recharge, a technology that was pioneered in Arizona.
I organized a session on Biofilm Processes and gave a talk in that session on “Chemical, Microbiological, and Physical Structures of H2-based Biofilms.” My presentation summarized parts of an award-winning project in which the H2-based membrane biofilm reactor was used to remove nitrate and perchlorate from contaminated groundwater. I also was a member of the LET’s Core Management Group, which outlines the themes for the LET and ensures that the speakers are truly leading-edge experts.
The LET conferences are a highlight of my year – every year. The 2015 LET will be in Hong Kong in the first week of June.
LET 2014 Website
LET 2015 Brochure
IWA 2015 Events