Sanitary Engineering

The mission of the Sanitary Engineering Chair Group is to contribute to knowledge development and capacity building in city-wide inclusive sanitation (CWIS) field; areas of interest include non-sewered sanitation, urban drainage, waste water collection, treatment and reclamation/reuse, and residuals management.

The Chair Group’s operations are positioned within an urban and peri-urban context and range from centralized to decentralized approaches, advanced versus low-cost technologies, and engineered versus natural systems. A unifying vision of these activities is integrated management of the urban water cycle.

Research and Education

Besides traditionally well-established research areas such as advanced nutrient removal processes, activated sludge modelling, and flood risk management, the Sanitary Engineering Chair Group is becoming increasingly visible by carrying out research on faecal sludge management and non-sewered sanitation, membrane bio-reactors, humanitarian WASH, and nature-based solutions for urban flood risk mitigation.

A further focus is on sanitation provision to urban poor, integration of eco-structure and infrastructure for sustainable wastewater and stormwater management, operational and process troubleshooting, optimization of wastewater collection and treatment components, and integrated urban water infrastructure management.

The primary research drivers include urbanization, provision of adequate sanitation, closing the urban water cycle, climate change, selection of adequate technology for local conditions, infrastructure provision to urban poor, and achievement of the UN millennium development goals related to global provision of sanitation.

Given the general mission of IHE Delft, the Sanitary Engineering Chair Group also has a special obligation to develop and adapt technological solutions relevant to developing countries and countries in transition. Research activities embody experimental work at laboratory, pilot, and field scales as well as mathematical modelling work including decision support and process optimization in municipal and industrial applications.

The group has a strong research relationship with Delft University of Technology and a number of leading research groups worldwide as well as Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF). It is particularly keen on developing collaborative partnerships with academia and institutions from developing countries and it has a track record in cooperation with the Dutch wastewater industry.

Educational responsibilities centre on: (i) Master of Science in Sanitation Program and, (ii) the Sanitary Engineering Specialization – an integral part of the Masters Program in Urban Water and Sanitation, both accredited by the Foundation for Quality Assurance in Netherlands Universities (QANU).

The Sanitary Engineering Chair Group maintains a leading role in delivering high quality postgraduate education in the field (both via regular programmes and distance learning courses), contributing to capacity building projects in the field, and delivering a number of tailor-made training courses for professionals from various developing and transition countries. The group has a prominent role in developing innovative didactic approaches, student-centered learning and problem-driven education and research. Furthermore, it is recognized for its cutting-edge contribution to the development and delivery of online courses.

Supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the group is spearheading the world’s largest capacity development mechanism in the field of CWIS - the Global Sanitation Graduate School.

The group is internationally recognized for its fund-raising activities which generated in excess of 50 million euro research and capacity development grants in the course of the last decade.

Publications

This group is the leader in publishing of books in the sanitation, wastewater treatment and urban drainage and sewerage fields, founded on the international collaborative efforts including the world’s leading experts. Scientific publications include articles in Science and Nature. The list of books edited and written by the members of the Sanitary Engineering Chair Groups are listed below.

Innovations

The Group is a pioneer in the practical application of models in wastewater treatment practice in developing countries. It is co-inventor of DEMOS©: Digital Epidemic Observatory and Management System, and of the Shit Killer® device for excreta management in emergencies, the award-winning eSOS® Smart Toilet and the medical toilet MEDiLOO®. The Group members are decorated by various awards including the IWA Publishing Award, IWA Water and Development Research Award Runner Up, ADB Water Champion, Wonder Women in Science, FAMAE Top 30 Innovators, Stockholm Water Prize Finalist and IWA Global Water Prize Finalist.

Staff members

PhD fellows

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