Keynote speakers

J.B. Neethling, Ph.D., P.E.

Dr. Neethling is a Senior Vice President with HDR Engineering, Inc. As the Technical Director for Wastewater Treatment, he is responsible for evaluating technical solutions to environmental problems. His primary focus has been on nutrient removal design and operations completing over 80 nutrient removal (BNR) projects. In this capacity he developed a mass balance wastewater treatment model used for design and process assessments.
He is the principal investigator for WERF’s Nutrient Removal Challenge, a collaboration of utilities, universities, consultants, manufacturers, and others researching nitrogen and phosphorus removal processes. This work developed scientific models regarding the fate of nutrients species (both nitrogen and phosphorus), their characteristics, treatability, and bioavailability in wastewater treatment and in aquatic environments.
He holds a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Stellenbosch (South Africa) and MS and PhD degrees from University of California, Berkeley.

Diane d’Arras

Her career has enabled her to hold positions of responsibility, to gain a broad vision and experience in the various issues involved in water and sanitation management. She started in a Public Water Agency, which allowed her to understand the importance of integrated resources management. Later, she joined Suez Environnement where she was able to develop wide operational experience in utilities, first in her native country, France, and in 1993 in Argentina.
In 1998, she made a big switch to Research and Development, first as Head of R&D at Degrémont and then in the same position with Suez Environnement. She faced there the challenges of research, developing internal and external partnerships with the water R&D networks and professional associations, at European and international levels, with universities, utilities and various industrial entities. This has given her the opportunity to establish extensive contacts in developed countries as well as in emerging countries, in Europe, America, Africa and Asia. It has made her highly aware of the diversity of situations and challenges in the water sector.

Current positions

  1. IWA (International Water Association): President-elect.
  2. Eureau (Federation of European Water and Wastewater Services): Board Member since 2015.
  3. The National Academy of Technologies of France: Elected Member in 2014.
  4. ACEA, a listed public water and energy utility in Italy: Board Member since 2013.
  5. Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées, France: Board Member since 2013.
  6. Suez Environnement, France: since 2011, Executive Vice President Water Europe in charge of operational management, strategy, partnerships in several European countries (Italy, Greece, Czech Republic, Central Europe).

Pierre Buffière

Pierre Buffière is currently Professor at INSA (National Institute of Applied Science) – Université de Lyon, and vice-head of the Laboratoire DEEP (Waste / Water / Environment / Pollution). He has over 20 years of experience in the field of biological waste and wastewater treatment. He started his research activity on anaerobic treatment of wastewater with biofilm reactors (fluidized beds) and monitoring and control of high-rate digesters in the Laboratory of Environmental Biotechnology at INRA.
He has been working as R&D engineer for DEGREMONT for 3 years (2000-2003) for the development of aerobic biofilm process and activated sludge aeration systems. Since 2004, his research activity is focused on anaerobic digestion of biological waste and biosolids, and on biological transformations in sewer networks.


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