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Heads of the Institute

Justus David Wilhelm Danckwerts

1901 - 1922


Heinrich Trautgott Otto Geissler

1922 - 1934


Georg Wilhelm Dietrich Kehr

1939 - 1970


Carl Franz Seyfried

1970 - 1995


Karl-Heinz Rosenwinkel

1995 - Present



Until 1901 the entire field of hydraulic engineering and water management was solely represented by J. Arnold. In 1901 J. Danckwarts was appointed to a new chair which covered water management and hydrology, agricultural hydraulic engineering and municipal water management. When J. Danckwarts became a professor emeritus in 1922, O. Geißler was appointed to his successor as representative of the practical experience in the field of municipal water management. In 1934 Geißler became a professor emeritus. Until the end of March 1936 the teaching area was representatively taken over by the scheduled assistant Dipl.-Ing. H. Kaitofen.

D. Kehr lectured for three years as teaching associate for water management and hydrology, agricultural hydraulic engineering, hydro mechanics and municipal water management, before he was called as a professor for the same field of the municipal water management on 1.4.1939. The municipal water management included all branches of the water management of the human society.

In autumn 1939 the specific field of "agricultural hydraulic engineering" was transferred to a newly created chair for agricultural hydraulic engineering. The lectures of the chair now included water management and hydraulic engineering, municipal water management, applied hydraulics and municipal enterprises as well as civil engineering for geodesists. The applied hydraulics course is lectured in cooperation with Professor Hensen. A buildup lecture of the civil engineering for geodesists is held in cooperation with Professor Schlums.

During war years, the first steps to establishing an institute for municipal water management were taken. The collapse shattered the newly founded Institute for Municipal Water Management as well as the collection of the institute's chair. It was not until the last years that the reconstruction of the collection began and the establishment of the Institute was actively supported. The Lower Saxony Ministry of Education approved by order from 5.2.1955 in due form the formation of the institute, which is active in the field of basic and applied research ever since. In Lower Saxony and in the surrounding federal states particularly test facilities in technical scales for water conditioning and waste water disposal are designed, administrated and evaluated for municipalities and industrial firms. To the institute's customers belong for example cities like Hamburg, Kassel, Gütersloh, Detmold, Nordhorn, Celle and and a number of smaller communes, as well as well-known industrial firms like the Kali-Chemie A. G., Hannover, the Margarine Plant Fritz Homann A.G., Dissen, etc.

Research contracts of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation) and the German Working Group of the International Research Association for Water and Wastewater are conducted partly independently and partly in cooperation with governmental and communal building authorities. Industrial research contracts are part of the programme as well. Research results benefit the education of the students. Within the scope of the Institute's activities, young graduate engineers have the opportunity to undertake professional training in the field of municipal water management.

The strong increase in population after 1945 and the enormous development of the industry caused a significant growth of water demand as well as a rapid increase of wastewater and therefore resulted in shifting the main focus of the educational and research activities to the fields of water and wastewater. The adjacent photograph i.e. shows a pilot plant of the institute, which was conceived, operated and evaluated for the city of Kassel.

The working field of the institute goes far beyond German borders. For instance, the Federal Government dispatched the chairholder D. Kehr as expert to Mexico in winter 1954/55 to make proposals for a solution of the sagging-, water supply and drainage problems.

On April 1st 1970, C.F. Seyfried, who has been working as assistant at the Institute from 1955 until 1960, took over the management.C.F. Seyfried distinguish himself by his inventiveness and his open-mindedness about new things, one of the essential conditions for a successful university professorship. His work in various fields of the wastewater treatment and especially the industrial wastewater treatment was innovative, in particular in the anaerobic technology, the membrane separation processes, the filtration processes, the biologically intensified filtration, the biological detoxification of industrial wastewaters, the deep-shaft-technology, the biological removal of nitrogen and phosphorus, the deammonification and the processing of sludge ashes in the building material and brick industry, to mention just a few examples. Research in the field of drinking water purification (underground iron and manganese removal) and waste-disposal technology (landfill technology, leachate treatment) is part of his activities as well. The early date of a publication about each of the mentioned topics demonstrates how early C.F.Seyfried discovered new processing techniques and used them in the wastewater treatment.

C.F.Seyfried already called for a biological removal of nitrogen in purification plants in the early 1970s. This engagement and farsightedness also include the strict large-scale implementation of biological removal of phosphorus, the approach of anaerobic techniques for the wastewater pre-treatment and the consideration of integrated concepts consisting of canal, purification plant and pre-treatment levels for industrial wastewaters, which he early examined scientifically and supported in the practical Implementation.

In 1990, he established an university group, including representatives of all German-speaking institutes for municipal water management working on this topics, to spread the biological P-elimination in Germany quickly. Measurement approaches for he biological P-elimination were worked out and publicized under his direction.

On April 1st 1995, the former (1997 - 1984) scientific assistant K.-H. Rosenwinkel takes over the management of the institute and still shapes the institute today.

On April 1st 2016, Prof. Dr. Stephan Köster was appointed to the new Professor for Sanitary Engineering and will suceed Prof. Dr. Rosenwinkel in 2017.