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Champion of Waterworld

Tony Rachwal - Thames Water's Tony Rachwal is ghting to get desalination into the UK's water supply mix at the public inquiry this week.

Amateur wine connoisseur - but only reds from south of the equator - and Thames Water research and development director, Tony Rachwal champions innovation, knowledge sharing and development of people to provide sustainable water technology around the world.

After school, Rachwal went to Birmingham University, from where he graduated with a rst class honours degree in chemistry. He then joined the Greater London Council's Metropolitan Public Health Division as a chemical analyst.

Most of his 30 year career has been with Thames Water, which has evolved from a local water authority to an international water utility. He has worked on research, design and operational projects in many countries and has published more than 50 papers on water technology.

'I initially worked on developing wastewater treatment processes, including oxidation ditch, biological denitrication technology between 1975 and 1980, ' says Rachwal During the 1980s he led a process development team optimising and uprating the conventional slow sand ltration water treatment plants supplying London with over 2M m 3/day of drinking water.

'This was followed in the 1990s by leadership of large-scale trials of advanced water treatment technologies, including ozone, activated carbon, biological ltration and membranes, ' he says.

A £300M programme to retrot appropriate advanced treatment technologies was then implemented for London to meet new European standards.

Rachwal led the team designing and operating the water reuse system for the UK's Millennium Dome, which was used by 6M visitors during 2000. He has recently conducted pilot trials for a brackish water desalination plant to supply London with drinking water from the tidal Thames estuary.

This project is currently the subject of a public enquiry which is due to end this month.

'I've served for six years as a research council member of the American Water Works Association Research Foundation and as chair of the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Water Infrastructure and Treatment Engineering research programme advisory group, ' says Rachwal.

He has recently been appointed to a strategic advisory team at the EPSRC, which has the task of reviewing future growth and focus areas, including the water sector.

'I'm a trustee and council member for the Foundation for Water Research and a non-executive director of the Construction Industries Research and Information Association.' He is a member of the scientic advisory board for the IWW Rheinisch-Westfalisches Institut fur Wasserforschung in Mulheim Germany.

Rachwal, now married with three sons, is responsible for managing a £7M research and development programme developing a wide range of water utility technologies.

'I manage a technical group of some 70 professionally qualied water scientists and engineers working in Thames Water's technical centres on topics ranging from climate change impact and desalination to condition assessment of pipelines with in-pipe sensor technologies.'

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