We are very pleased to see that the 8th IWA Specialist Group Conference on Waste Stabilization Ponds, held in the city of Belo Horizonte, Brazil, from 26 to 30 April 2009, was a huge success.
The conference followed the pathway of the very successful previous conferences (Portugal, USA, Brazil, Morocco, New Zealand, France and Thailand). Within the main conference there was a branch in which the "2nd IWA Latin-American conference on stabilization ponds" was accommodated, following the excellent first conference that took place in Colombia in 2000.
There were 120 delegates from 22 different countries covering all continents, what guaranteed the international view and flavour of the conference.
In the opening ceremony a tribute to Prof. Salomão A. Silva, who died last year, was made. In the sequence, Prof. Duncan Mara received a homage, including a plaque in the name of the Specialist Group "in recognition for his outstanding contribution to ponds research and application". In the follow up, Prof. Mara gave the keynote address: Waste stabilization ponds: past, present and future.
The morning sessions were devoted to five round tables with the presence of internationally leading scientists, covering the following subjects: Pond biology; Pond hydraulics and modelling; Nutrient removal; Pathogen removal and effluent reuse; Integration of ponds with other systems.
In the afternoon there were long 70 oral presentations for papers and 16 short-platform presentations for posters, running in three parallel sessions. There were 26 papers indicated for consideration for the journal Water Science and Technology and 2 papers indicated for the AIDIS Electronic Journal.
The technical visits were done on the Onça (UASB reactors) and Arrudas (activated sludge) treatment plants, with a special tour on the experimental site UFMG-COPASA, which includes several wastewater treatment units (ponds, wetlands, UASB reactors, trickling filters and others).
In the Specialist Group meeting, new chair (Marcos von Sperling) and secretary (Kara Nelson) were elected for a mandate of four years, and Adelaide (Australia) was selected as the host city for the next conference, in 2011.
In order to disseminate the knowledge brought about by the conference, the pdf files of the power-point presentations of the round tables and of the technical papers and posters are made available at this web site. Please download and use them and tell your colleagues.
On an institutional basis, I would like to express my gratitude to the following sponsors, which made this conference possible: ABRH - Brazilian Water Resources Association (host), ABES - Brazilian Association on Sanitary and Environmental Engineering, AIDIS - Interamerican Association on Sanitary and Environmental Engineering, COPASA - Minas Gerais Water and Sanitation Company, CNPq - Brazilian Council for Scientific and Technological Development and DNOCS - National Department for Drought Prevention.
On a personal level, I would like to give a warm thanks to the members of the organizing and technical committees, the staff involved and specially, to all delegates, who contributed so much to make this a remarkable conference.
Hope to see you all in Adelaide 2011!
Marcos von Sperling
8 May 2009
Click here to download the presentations.