Membranes and Desalination

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Call for Nominations Opening Soon for Desalination Management Committee 2020 – 2022
You must be a Member of the Australian Water Association to nominate for the committee.

Co- Chairs

Gary Crisp, Engineering Manager, John Holland
Gary graduated from University of Pretoria as a Civil Engineer and has 38 years of water experience, 19 of which is in desalination and water reuse. He recently joined John Holland Group as Engineering Manager after two successful years establishing Sacyr Environment USA (Valoriza) as Director Business Development: Water in Washington DC. Valoriza successfully completed the 300MLD Southern Seawater Desalination Plant.    

In 2000, Gary prepared the Water Corporation Strategy for Desalination and was an integral member of all Corporation desalination projects, including Perth Seawater Desalination, Southern Seawater Desalination, Burrup Fertilizers, Kwinana Water Reuse plants and Beenyup Advanced Water Recycling Plant in its early stages.      

He was Chief Technology Officer for the construction and commissioning of the Gold Coast Desalination Plant. Gary has worked on five desalination projects that have won GWI Desalination Plant of the Year titles. He has worked on many USA desalination and water reuse projects, notably Carlsbad, Huntington Beach, Camp Pendleton, Doheny Point Ocean Desalination Plants, the Purified Water Reuse Program, Santa Clara, Sterling Wastewater Reuse, San Bernardino, and the Groundwater Reliability Improvement Program (GRIP), all in California and the BP Mad Dog II SWRO in Texas. 
Ian Fergus, Director, Ian Fergus Water Specialist Pty Ltd
Ian Fergus is a chartered professional mechanical engineer with over 40 years' experience in the Australian and global water industry. 

From the early 1970’s, Ian pioneered the introduction of RO membrane desalination technology in Australia for the treatment of brackish groundwater, saline mine water, seawater, industrial water and innovative water reuse. These RO plants (>300 projects) were employed for a wide range of applications (e.g. potable water for Australian townships; treatment of difficult high salinity mine waters & CSG produced waters; cooling water side-stream treatment & zero liquid discharge (ZLD) for the power generation, mining & CSG industries; industrial water treatment for refineries & chemical industries, as well as for drinking water for the Australian Defence Force and the Australian public sector). 

Over the past 10 years Ian has been engaged as the independent peer review expert for a variety of mining, energy, CSG & water infrastructure industry clients. For example, as a member of the BHP Billiton Independent Peer Review (IPR) Team, Ian provided expert opinion for the 280ML/d US$3 billion  Escondida Coloso Chile SWRO desalination plant project and in 2017, Ian was the Desalination Expert for Pertamina (Indonesia’s National Oil & Gas Company) to provide technical assistance for a 72 MLD SWRO facility and ancillary infrastructure (e.g. seawater intake and outfall).

Committee members

Dr Huanfei Jia, Principal Process Engineer/Process Lead, KBR 
Huanfei has over 17 years of Australian working experiences and has been worked in various large consulting organizations such as MWH, WorleyParsons and Hatch/Occtech. He completed his PhD in Chemical Engineering at Curtin University in 2001 and obtained Environmental engineering degree overseas.

Huanfei areas of expertise & skills include: advanced water/wastewater treatment areas including seawater desalination, reverse osmosis, MF (or MBR), industrial water (mining, coal seam gas, etc) treatment/reclamation and STPs. He has involved number of major landmark projects, including detailed design of Victorian seawater desalination plant and tender design of Sydney Kurnell seawater desalination plant, detailed design of Origin Energy MED brine treatment plant and APLNG Upstream Coal Seam Gas water treatment facilities.

Huanfei has number of technical publications for most influential international conferences and journals. His project awards are Excellence Award by DECC for Vales Point Power Station Water Reclaimed Plant and Ozwater17 Finalist Nomination Design Award for Yamba STP Detailed Design.


Philip Fleming, General Manager, AS Harrison & Co
Phil graduated with a BSc in Industrial Chemistry from the University of NSW.  He also holds a Post Certificate in Surface Coatings Technology and an MBA from the University of Technology, Sydney.  He is a Fellow of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute and a Chartered Chemist.

His professional career spans over 40 years and includes R & D, technical sales, product management, logistics and general management.  He is experienced in the application of chemical solutions to problems in diverse industries including water, infrastructure, pulp and paper, mining and petroleum.

Phil is General Manager at A S Harrison & Company Pty Ltd, a specialised chemical solution provider based in Brookvale NSW and with offices in WA and New Zealand.  His role includes technical and commercial responsibility for the company’s range of RO membrane chemical treatment products.  

Neil Palmer, Principal Engineer Water, Tonkin Consulting
Neil Palmer has degrees in civil and public health engineering.  His career spans 42 years in the Australian water industry, 20 years in Government, 16 years in the private sector and 6 years in 
research leadership.

His experience as a professional engineer from 1975 – 2016 includes the South Australian Engineering and Water Supply Department, the Fiji Public Works Department, the South Australian EPA, United Utilities Australia, Osmoflo and CEO of the National Centre of Excellence in Desalination 
Australia in Perth, WA. 

In January 2015, Neil joined Tonkin Consulting in South Australia as Principal Water Engineer.  In 2017 he was appointed Australian Editor for the influential think tank Global Water Intelligence.

Richard Tarr, Director, Richard Tarr Consulting

Richard graduated from the University of Melbourne with B.Eng. (Mech) and Master of Engineering Science degrees, and has worked in the water industry for over 20 years. He was awarded a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Fellowship in 2003 for the investigation of new developments in desalination and wastewater recovery membrane treatment techniques.

Over the last decade Richard has operated as a water treatment consultant and contractor across a broad range of water treatment applications and treatment processes but with a specific focus on membrane treatment processes. Key treatment areas of experience include water treatment, wastewater/Class A recycling, low pressure membrane filtration and NF and RO systems across potable water, waste water and industrial applications. Most recently he has been involved in projects including UF and NF potable water systems, Class A UF plants and SWRO.

Stephen Chapman, Section Executive, Water Treatment, WSP
Stephen is an accomplished water industry professional, who over the last 26 years has worked for various pre-eminent international consulting firms, technology providers, and client organisations in Australia and overseas. Stephen is widely recognised for his contributions to Desalination and other membrane projects such as the Hong Kong Desalination plant options study, the recent Perth Desalination plant expansion, Cleveland Bay and Gippsland Water Factory (the two largest MBR plants in Australia), Googong Water Recycling Plant and the internationally significant NEWater projects (Bedok, Kranji, Ulu Pandan, Seletar and Changi) that now provide Singapore with 30% of its drinking water supplies. Stephen heads up WSP’s national water and wastewater treatment business.

Steve Page, Senior Project Manager - Global & APAC Water, Advisian
Steve has worked in the water industry for the majority of his career based primarily in the UK and Australia. He has worked for a number of client and consultant organizations and is currently based in Brisbane as Global & APAC Water Specialist Services Lead.  

Steve’s experience over the past decade or so in Membranes and Desalination covers a broad range of feed water types including brackish, high salinity bores, seawater, recycled water, and coal seam gas produced water. The permeate quality and utilization is similarly broadly based including drinking water, agricultural use, and industrial use.  Brine and salt management are currently to the fore in his work with various clients.

Steve’s project experience includes Engineering Manager on a 100 MLD SUF/IX/RO plant, development of concepts for drinking water RO systems, seawater to salt plants covering technical, economic and - to some extent - environmental requirements and constraints.

Dale Rohe, Principal Process Engineer, Stantec / MWH
Dale is a registered, professional environmental engineer practicing in the water treatment sector with a focus on membrane processes, desalination, recycling and water quality.  He has experience with the planning, pilot-testing, pre-design, design, construction and commissioning phases of water, recycling and desalination projects.  In addition to Australia, Dale’s work experience includes projects in the United States, Turkey, Singapore, Middle East, China, Netherlands and Caribbean.  He has authored/co-authored and presented over 25 technical papers for water industry conferences or publications.