Wilhelm von der Emde


Wilhelm von der Emde

Distinguished Pioneer

Professional background

Wilhelm von der Emde (1922-2020) received his doctoral degree in civil engineering at Hannover (Germany) university. From 1958 to 1964 he was head of the Hamburg wastewater department. From 1964 to 1987 he served as Professor for “Water Supply, Wastewater Treatment and Water Protection” at the Vienna University of Technology. He was an internationally recognised expert for design and operation of mechanical-biological wastewater treatment plants and one of the pioneers in standardising the design of nutrient removal activated sludge plants. He markedly contributed to optimise vocational training for treatment plant operators.

Major contributions to IWA

Willi von der Emde was one of the founders of IAWPR where he served several years at the board in different functions. Together with John Andrews and their colleagues and friends in Europe, US, UK, South Africa, and Japan he successfully started the Vienna IAWPR Workshop series on “Design and Operation of Large Wastewater Treatment Plants” in 1971. This workshop led to the development of one of the first and still powerful Specialist Groups which also became a role model for many other Specialist Groups until today in IWA. During the presidency of Engelbrecht he markedly contributed to the successful development of the Specialist Groups as bottom-up activity of the members, with organisational support by the Association’s headquarter. He also strongly supported the creation of the journal “Water Science and Technology” for publications on scientific research and its practical application.

Author:  Helmut Kroiss, Austria