headshot of Barnard

James L. Barnard, Ph.D., P.E., BCEE, Dist.M.ASCE, global process and technology leader for Black & Veatch Consulting Engineers, has been honored by ASCE as the Outstanding Projects And Leaders award winner in design.

The ASCE OPAL awards honor outstanding civil engineering leaders for their lifetime accomplishments. This year’s OPAL leadership award winners will be honored at the OPAL Awards Gala, a virtual event held Oct. 8 as part of the ASCE 2021 Convention.

Barnard is recognized for his innovation and excellence in civil engineering design. To many he is, without reservation, the most influential design practitioner in advanced water pollution control. The biological processes he developed for the removal of nitrogen and phosphorous from used water facilities are presently applied worldwide.

He also worked with universities and research institutes toward a steady knowledge-stream culminating in the most recent developments that can be applied to almost any activated sludge plant in the world. These include the fermentation of primary and mixed-liquor biosolids to ensure the selection of fermenting phosphate accumulating organisms that can also reduce nitrogen compounds to nitrogen gas to be released to the atmosphere, saving vast sums of money and preventing chemical pollution of the environment while reducing phosphorous to below 0.1 mg/L. In his 80s he is still active, still developing new idea ideas and spawning a renewed wave of research at the institutes.

Barnard has published 180 papers sharing his research work on the biological nutrient removal (BNR) process. He has been with Black & Veatch since 1998, and before that was director and chief process engineer at Reid Crowther in Vancouver as well as in critical positions in Pretoria, South Africa.

His other awards are many: the South African Civil Engineering Award for Design (1983); Koch/Imhoff Award for Outstanding Scientific Contribution, IWA (1988); Honorary Board-Certified Environmental Engineer, AAEE (2006); Elected Fellow, Water Environment Federation (2011); Singapore Lew Kuan Yew Water Prize (2011); Ph.D., Iowa State University (2012); Simon Freese Prize and Lecture Award, ASCE (2017); and several others, including the 2018 Howard Prescott Eddy Medal, WEF.

Barnard’s name is recognized everywhere not only as the father of BNR process design, but also for his humanity in passing on that knowledge and dedication to the protection of the aquatic environment for future generations.

After earning a B. Ing. in civil engineering from University of Stellenbosch in South Africa, Barnard picked up a master’s degree in environmental health engineering from the University of Texas, Austin, and a doctorate in water resource engineering from Vanderbilt University. He also received an Hon. Ph.D from Iowa State University.