Civil and Environmental EngineeringWestern Engineering

George Nakhla


Ph.D. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, U.S.A (1989)
M.Sc. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, U.S.A (1987)
B.Sc. University of Khartoum, Sudan (1983)

DR NAKHLA'S research interests lie in the general area of environmental engineering and water and soil pollution control. The main areas of expertise are biological municipal and industrial wastewater treatment, biological nutrient removal processes, biological detoxification of hazardous contaminants, soil and ground water bioremediation, and landfill leachate treatment.

Dr. Nakhla has worked for many years on the biological treatment of toxic organics. Dr. Nakhla’s research activities in this area have significantly expanded to include the investigation of impact process parameters on the efficiency of in-situ bioremediation of gasoline compounds, the development of novel bioremediation approaches, and biological treatability of PCBs sludges.

Dr. Nakhla has been contributing for many years to the development of better understanding and predictive models for simultaneous biological and physiochemical removal of contaminants in fluidized-bed granular activated carbon reactors. He was among the first researchers who delineated the impact of surface chemical reactions on adsorption of various organics on activated carbon. He also developed a reactor model that incorporates the phenomena of simultaneous biodegradation of multiple substrates and the competitive adsorption in fixed film biological reactors.

Dr. Nakhla’s recent research activities included the development of biological nutrient removal processes for the treatment of high strength industrial wastes including rendering wastewater, poultry processing wastes, and various food processing wastes. Dr. Nakhla has also developed process designs for various municipal wastewater treatment systems including the first Communal Biological Nutrient Removal System in Ontario. He’s working with other researchers on further development of a novel wastewater treatment system to provide the functions of organics removal, nitrification, denitrification, and solids removal in a single reactor.

Dr. Nakhla’s research activities in this area have significantly expanded to include optimization of biological treatment processes, process modeling, and use of biosurfactants to enhance performance of biological wastewater and sludge treatment processes. He has developed a novel fluidized bed process for nutrient removal from municipal wastewaters. Recent projects with food processing industries have focused on control of filamentous organisms and sludge bulking problems associated with aerobic treatment of wastewaters, through the use of selectors, intermittent aeration, and nutrient control, as well as exploration of novel hybrid treatment systems to treat high strength difficult to biodegrade industrial wastes to leachate effluent quality.