18.10.1863 St. Paul/USA - 19.3.1922 Hamburg/D
William Philips Dunbar moved as a boy to Europe. He graduated at the University of Bremen to a medical doctor and started his career at the Hygienic Institute of Giessen University. He directed from 1893 the newly founded Hygienic Institute of Hamburg University which was erected due to the cholera epidemic. Dunbar started with five collaborators which increased to over 150 in 1914. The Institute was subdivided into five sections, including the section relating to river pollution, wastewater removal and its utilization. On the thirtieth birthday of the Institute a total of 529 scientific works had been published.
Dunbar has contributed to all aspects of hygiene, but he is particularly remembered for his eminent contributions to wastewater treatment. His 1907 book was highly popular until after World War II. A number of particular questions were addressed in papers published in the German journal Gesundheits-Ingenieur. He investigated the production of incontestable drinking water by using waters from the Elbe River combined with a rapid sand filtration. He thereby aimed to find new groundwater sources instead of the highly polluted river waters. The other main problem solved by Dunbar relates to wastewater treatment. During various trips to the United Kingdom and the USA, he was able to detract the particular advantages to finally present an improved approach. He discussed the various methods again in his 1907 book and found himself after World War I at the international forefront of wastewater technology. He was a highly sought expert in this field all over Europe, therefore. Dunbar received a large number of decorations, such as the 1903 Pettenkofer-Preis, the 1904 Grand-Prix at the Chicago World Exhibition, and the Order of the Red Eagle in 1909. He was elected Corresponding Member of the Royal Academy of Belgium in 1908.
Boehmer, H. von (1918). W.P. Dunbar. Gesundheits-Ingenieur 41(6): 49. P
Dunbar, W.P., Thumm, K. (1902). Beitrag zum derzeitigen Stand der Abwasserreinigungsfrage mit besonderer Berücksichtigung der biologischen Reinigungsverfahren. Oldenbourg: München.
Dunbar, W.P. (1907). Leitfaden für die Abwasserreinigungsfrage. Oldenbourg: München, 3rd ed. in 1954.
Harmsen, H. (1959). Dunbar, William Philips. Neue Deutsche Biographie 4: 193-194.
Duncker&Humblot: Berlin.
Kammann, O. (1922). Prof. Dr. W.P. Dunbar. Gesundheits-Ingenieur 45(20): 253-255. P

Hydraulicians in Europe 1800-2000 . 2013.

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