Black & Veatch Appoints Leon Downing as Global Practice & Technology Leader for Nutrient Removal and Recovery | Black & Veatch

Black & Veatch Appoints Leon Downing as Global Practice & Technology Leader for Nutrient Removal and Recovery

Expert to help guide clients to the most innovative nutrient removal solutions in wastewater treatment

Black & Veatch announced today that Dr. Leon Downing, a water industry expert with a track record of deploying cutting-edge nutrient removal technologies, has been named global practice and technology leader for nutrient removal in the company’s water business.

In his new position, Dr. Downing will support and lead the process design of wastewater projects throughout North America, Australia and elsewhere in the world. His focus will be on helping clients understand the best nutrient removal technologies to meet their needs based on their existing processes, short- and long-term goals, market pressures, staffing constraints and budgets.

“Leon Downing is an excellent choice to lead Black & Veatch’s global nutrient removal and recovery practice,” said Dr. James Barnard, one of the first global practice and technology leaders for Black & Veatch’s water business, who has been called the “godfather” of biological nutrient removal. “He brings vast expertise, leadership, advanced thinking and people skills that will serve him well in this role as he helps clients around the world implement wastewater treatment technologies.”

Downing, who holds a doctorate in environmental engineering from the University of Notre Dame and bachelor’s degrees from the University of Wisconsin - Platteville, has a track record of studying and implementing innovative nutrient removal solutions. Over 15 years ago, his doctoral research focused on membrane aerated biofilm reactors (MABR), now among the industry’s most-discussed emerging technologies, due to their ability to intensify treatment and reduce energy use.

A founding member of the Water Environment Federation’s (WEF) “Biofilm Interest Group,” Downing remains at the forefront of biofilm-based treatment technologies. He also is part of several Water Research Foundation research projects focused on next-generation biological nutrient removal and serves as principal investigator for two projects focused on enhanced biological phosphorus removal and low dissolved oxygen, helping clients obtain resilient, low-cost nutrient removal processes.

Since joining Black & Veatch as a principal process engineer and innovation leader in Black & Veatch’s water business, Downing has helped many clients optimize the operation of their existing facilities, as well as conducting demonstration testing projects with them on new, innovative technologies to improve performance and save costs.

“I am honored to accept this new role. I have a passion for helping clients innovate and modernize their facilities to achieve greater sustainability and more efficient nutrient recovery programs” Downing said. “In this position, I look forward to leading Black & Veatch’s team as we work with clients to deploy the best technologies the market has to offer their organizations and the communities they serve.


Editor’s Notes:

  • Downing is currently serving as the principal investigator for two Water Research Foundation (WRF) projects, lead Project 4975 on fermentative phosphorus removal and serving as a co-principal investigator for Project 5083 on low energy biological nutrient removal.
  • In April, two Black & Veatch biological nutrient removal and biosolids projects earned awards for “outstanding achievement” from the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists.
  • Download a high-resolution headshot of Leon Downing.

About Black & Veatch

Black & Veatch is a 100-percent employee-owned global engineering, procurement, consulting and construction company with a more than 100-year track record of innovation in sustainable infrastructure. Since 1915, we have helped our clients improve the lives of people around the world by addressing the resilience and reliability of our most important infrastructure assets. Our revenues in 2021 exceeded US$3.3 billion. Follow us on and on social media.

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