Prof Lingam Pillay

Associate Professor | Water/wastewater treatment & reuse & membrane technology

Short Bio

Prof Pillay obtained his BSc (Eng), MSc (Eng) and PhD (Chemical Engineering) from the University of Kwazulu Natal (UKZN). He then joined the Pollution Research Group, Department of Chemical Engineering, as a Senior Research Fellow at UKZN. Prof Pillay then moved to the Department of Chemical Engineering, ML Sultan Technikon (now Durban University of Technology), and was charged with the task of initiating research and developing a research culture in the department. In 2013, Prof Pillay joined the Department of Process Engineering, Stellenbosch University.

Research outputs include 25 publications in peer reviewed journals, 21 contract research project reports, 3 patents, and numerous presentations at local and international conferences. He has supervised / co-supervised 29 masters and 2 doctoral graduates.

Research Interests

Prof Lingam Pillay’s research is in the field of water and wastewater treatment and reuse, with a particular emphasis on membrane technology, and technologies for developing economies.  The focus is strongly on technology development and application.  One of the technology outputs, the VulAmanz Rural Water Filter is currently being demonstrated at 1 000 rural households around South Africa, and a company has been set up to drive its commercialisation.

Current research interests include:

  • Potable water provision, with a particular focus on developing economies and rural communities;
  • Donnan Dialysis for aluminium and iron recovery from water treatment residuals;
  • Reclamation and reuse of industrial effluents, agricultural processing wastewaters, and fishing industry wastewaters;
  • Electrochemical disinfection; and
  • Immersed membrane bioreactors.

Selected Publications

Pillay, V.L, Cele, M.X., Deelie, M., Development of a woven fabric immersed membrane bioreactor (WFIMBR) package plant for decentralized sanitation, WRC Project K5/2287/2016 (

Alfa, D., Rathilal, S., Pillay, V.L., Pikwa, K.,  and Chollom, M.N., Development and evaluation of a small scale water disinfection system, Journal of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Development, 06.3, 2016, DOI: 10.2166/washdev.2016.093

Maipato,  I.T., Rathilal, S., Pillay, V.L., Evaluation of flux stabilisation using Bio-UF membrane filter on KZN Rivers, South Africa, Membrane Water Treatment, Vol. 7, No. 4 (2016) 313-325, DOI:

Chollom, M.N., Rathilal, S., Pillay, V.L., and Alfa, D., The applicability of nanofiltration for the treatment and reuse of textile reactive dye effluent, Water SA Vol. 41 No. 3 April (2015), ISSN 1816-7950

Xaba, P., Rathilal, S. and Pillay, L., Reclamation of end-of-pipe textile effluent using low energy membrane systems, South African Journal of Chemical Engineering, vol. 20, 2015, no. 2, pp. 69-79

Pillay, V.L., Rietveld, L., Vallabh, S., Munnik, V. and Wilson, Implementation strategies for a rural water treatment system, SANPAD Project 10/97, (2014)

Metcalf G; Pillay L; Murutu C; Chiburi S; Gumede N; Gaydon PN, Wastewater reclamation for potable reuse Volume 1: Evaluation of membrane bioreactor technology for pre-treatment; 2014/07/01; Research Report No.1894/1/14 (

Metcalf G; Pillay L; Murutu C; Chiburi S; Gumede N; Gaydon PN, Wastewater reclamation for potable reuse Volume 2: Integration of MBR technology with advanced treatment processes; 2014/07/01; Research Report No.TT 611/14 (

Mecha, C.A., Otieno, F.A.O. and  Pillay, V.L., Long ISSN 1816-7950 (On-line)-term disinfection performance of silver nanoparticles impregnated membranes, Desalination and Water Treatment, DOI:10.1080/19443994.2014.996778 (2014)

Jacobs, E.P., Bradshaw, S.M., Brika, B., Verster, I.H. and Pillay, V.L., Floating media flocculation as pre-treatment for capillary ultrafiltration in drinking water treatment, WRC Report No: 1527/1/12, ISBN No: 978-1-4312-0110-5 (2012)


Particle Technology 316