Rittmann named 2011 Fellow by International Water Association


A premier global water organization, the International Water Association (IWA), has recognized the outstanding achievements of Arizona State University professor Bruce Rittmann as a 2011 Fellow, its most prestigious professional honor.

IWA is a 10,000-strong organization of water professionals known for their guidance and leadership in the world of water science, technology and management. Rittmann, an IWA member since 1980, was included in the second annual class of IWA Fellows.

“Having been an active member for 30 years, the association is important to me because it strengthens my ability to have a positive impact on the water field,” says Rittmann, director of the Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology at ASU’s Biodesign Institute and a Regents’ Professor who holds dual appointments in ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering and Global Institute of Sustainability. “The IWA is truly unique in providing so many opportunities for impact, service and great experiences.”

Rittmann’s IWA service includes:

  • attending or presenting at 30 IWA conferences around the world
  • organizing and hosting the 1998 Conference on the Microbial Ecology of Biofilms and the 2010 Leading Edge Technology conference in Phoenix
  • publishing 34 papers in Water Research, papers in Water Science & Technology, and 12 papers and books in other IWA outlets
  • training and encouraging the development of a new generation of students and colleagues in water engineering research

An international leader in using microbes to benefit both the environment and human health, Rittmann’s research team tackles some of the world’s leading problems related to water, waste and energy.

Among Rittmann’s key water treatment innovations is the commercial development of a membrane biofilm reactor (MBfR), which uses naturally occurring microorganisms to remove contaminants such as perchlorate and tricloroethene from water. MBfR works by delivering hydrogen gas to bacteria to change the chemical composition of a contaminant and render it harmless.  For his development of MBfR. Rittmann won the 2011 Excellence in Environmental Engineering Award from the American Academy of Environmental Engineers.

Rittmann’s prior accolades include: National Academy of Engineering member, American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow, ASU Regents’ Professor, Arizona BioIndustry Association 2009 Award for Research Excellence, American Society of Civil Engineers 2009 Simon W. Freese Award, and the 1994 National Water Research Institute’s Clarke Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Water Science and Technology.

According to the Institute for Scientific Information, Rittmann is also one of the world’s most cited environmental researchers. His textbook, “Environmental Biotechnology: Principles and Applications,” is used by universities around the world to educate students about the ways in which microorganisms can be used to improve environmental quality.

Rittmann will be honored with other 2011 IWA Fellows on Oct. 2 in Tokyo as part of the Aspire Conference.

Watch a video about Rittmann’s innovation that cleans water.

About IWA
The International Water Association is a global reference point for water professionals, spanning the continuum between research and practice and covering all facets of the water cycle. Through its network of members and experts in research, practice, regulation, industry, consulting and manufacturing, IWA is in a better position than any other organization to help water professionals create innovative, pragmatic and sustainable solutions to challenging global needs. www.iwahq.org