He is amongst the youngest to head waste water services for metro Halifax (Nova Scotia), which for Susheel Arora, 42, means the responsibility for collection and treatment of waste/storm water generated in and by a town of approximately 400,000 people, at the head of 300 people.
“Waste water comes from sewage and it is purified and treated before it can be released to the harbor,” says Arora, who came to Canada in 1994 and has progressed considerably in the course of the next 15 years. “We treat the water, separate the solid waste and then we disinfect it and release it into the harbor. Solid waste is concentrated; it then goes to the composting plant after which it is sold as soil amending fertilizer. “We have to be very careful what goes into the harbor. I am in a profession that is highly regulated profession through Environment Canada and local regulatory bodies and in my current position as Director of Waste Water, I am also a director incharge for the Harbor Solutions Project for the Halifax Harbor cleanup, for which the budget is $330 million.” The native of Ganganagar, Rajasthan, had come to Canada with a Masters in Environmental Engineering; on arrival, he took another Master’s in Applied Sciences from Dalhousie University.
Though his current brief keeps him extremely busy, he says he has not given up the research aspect of his specialization in managing waste water. At his initiative, two major research projects are ongoing in Halifax: the one at Dalhousie University for testing and optimizing water treatment technology is worth a million dollars annually, and the one at Agricultural College is about the beneficial utilization of bio-solids. “I lead these research efforts and fund these projects through my department,” Arora says. In his position as member of the US-based Water and Environment Federation, Arora sits on various committees including the American Water Waste Association. In his capacity of expert in the field, he is regularly invited to speak at professional fora, and to write guides, manuals and research papers on the cutting edge of water management. Arora is equally active in the area Sikh and Hindu societies, where he has held high positions. He is also active with the Vedanta Ashram. “We do a lot of fund raising,” he says.
“Most recently we raised funds for the Guru Govind Singh Foundation which will donate the money to children’s hospitals in all 10 provinces of the country. We organize walkathons, support local food banks and through the gurdwara we send money to several charities in India.” In his native Ganganagar, he donates money to the Bal Vivek Ashram which has 80 orphan children. He visits the ashram without fail on his periodic trips to India. “I talk to the children and ask them what they need. Sometimes it is books, sometimes it is a matter of improving bathroom facilities. I go around the facilities, we make a list of what is needed – in summer for example it gets very hot, so I bought coolers for them.” He also supports a school for blind and deaf children in his hometown. His work has resulted in various honors coming his way, including the Young Engineer Award from Engineers Nova Scotia (2003). His philosophy, he says, is simple: “I try to find ways to apply complex technology to come up with simple solutions for the betterment of society at large.”
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