Professor George​ Ekama

George A Ekama, PhD, has 35 years research experience into activated sludge systems at the University of Cape Town, where some of the original biological N and P removal kinetic simulation modelling research was done in the 1980s, which found its way into activated sludge models No. 1 and 2. Over the years he has been at the forefront of developments in BNR activated sludge systems modelling, filamentous bulking, secondary settling tank design and modelling. He has published over 150 research papers on these subjects and he and his research group have been co-authors of 4 of the International Water Association (IWA) Scientific and Technical Reports (STR) on activated sludge modelling, community analysis and secondary settling tanks. He has been visiting Professor at Virginia Tech, University of Padua and the UNESCO- IHE in Delft, teaching graduate courses on wastewater treatment. He regularly teaches courses for local authorities and industry, both nationally and internationally, such as for the Hong Kong Government in 1999, 2003 and 2008, and Beijing Water Corporation in 2006. He is one of a few environmental engineering professors listed on Thomson's ISI Highly Cited website ( He is co-author and co-editor of the recently published (2008) internet learning course called “Biological wastewater treatment - Principles, modelling and design” sponsored by the UNESCO-IHE in Delft and the IWA, which includes a book, down-loadable course notes and video-filmed lectures.

Current Research Interests

  • including C into steady state and simulation models for plant wide WWTP modelling
  • biological sulphate reduction of acid mine drainage using sewage sludge and other concentrated organics waste streams
  • energy recovery from concentrated organics waste streams in membrane anaerobic digesters
  • impact of source separation of urine on biological nutrient removal and
  • biological sulphate reduction and autotrophic denitrification with sulphide in saline sewage treatment arising from seawater toilet flushing

Professor Ekama is a fellow of several institutions such as the Water Institute of Southern Africa, Royal Society of South Africa and the academies of Science and of Engineering of South Africa.