White Rock’s utilities manager has become the first Canadian to lead the prestigious International Ozone Association.
Dr. Saad Jasim, an internationally recognized water-treatment expert and longtime advocate of ozone as a disinfectant – who successfully introduced its application as part of the city’s new arsenic and manganese water treatment plant – will begin his two-year term as association president starting in January.
He was inaugurated during the association’s 24th annual world congress and exhibition, held in Nice, France Oct. 20-25, which drew representatives from 32 countries.
“As I’m the first Canadian to become president, I made sure the Canadian national anthem was played in both French and English at the formal inauguration,” he said, adding, with a chuckle, “I was also wearing my tie with Canadian flags on it.
“I’m pleased and proud to be taking this responsibility.”
The association, established in 1973, is a non-profit educational and scientific organization dedicated to promoting research into, and sharing information on, all aspects of ozone and related oxygen species technologies. Its website describes ozone as “a powerful disinfectant with a positive environmental footprint.”
Jasim was elected to the presidency unanimously by members of the association’s three international regional sub-groups, including the Pan American group for which Jasim served as president in 2010-11.
“I’m interested in the use of ozone because I’ve seen it working – and White Rock is yet another example,” Jasim, a 20-year member of the association, said. “The reasons for my ‘bias’ are based on scientific findings.”
Exploring the potential uses of ozone is “continuous work,” Jasim said. “When you take the responsibility to become a leader, the job is to continue to educate members, and also people outside the association, on how important it is for water quality and the environment.”
Among Jasim’s work – for which he has received numerous awards – has been the introduction of ozone for treatment of cyanotoxins from harmful algal blooms, and water reuse, while he was acting research director and principal investigator at the Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute at Hamad Bin Kalifa University.
It’s a project that is currently being extended at the University of Windsor, Ontario – where Jasim has been an adjunct professor since 1996 – thanks to his own personal donation, matched by non-profit research funding agency MITACS.
“It helps us create employment for a post-doctorate candidate to work on the project,” he said.
Extending the project for North American application “is something I’ve wanted to do for 10 years, but it wasn’t possible to get funding before what happened in Toledo, Ohio (a concentration of green cyanobacteria in Lake Erie helped compromise the city’s water system in 2014).
“We’re looking at species that are not included in current (Health Canada) guidelines,” he added.
Also in Canada, he introduced ozone for drinking water treatment for Windsor in 2001, while serving as director, water quality, for the Windsor Utilities Commission. He also designed a complete treatment system employing ozone in Leamington, Ont. to allow re-use of 100,000 litres of water per day, while reducing the impact of nutrients discharged to Lake Erie.
“While use as a disinfectant was one of the first deployments of ozone, it’s also effective for other problems such as the presence of pharmaceuticals in the water,” Jasim said.
Jasim also served as president of the Ontario Water Works Association in 2010.