Faculty/Staff Directory

Say Kee Ong

  • Cerwick Faculty Professor
  • Associate Chair, Director of Graduate Education
  • Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering

Main Office

422 Town Engr
Ames, IA 50011-1066
Phone: 515-294-3927
Fax: 515-294-8216


  • Ph.D. Environmental Engineering, Cornell University, 1990
  • M.S. Environmental Engineering, Vanderbilt University, 1987
  • B.Eng. Mechanical Engineering, University of Malaya, 1980

Interest Areas

Say Kee Ong's research interests are in the fate and transport of pollutants in engineered and natural systems, development of compact wastewater treatment and sustainable water reuse systems, and hazardous waste management.

Research Projects

  • Sustainable wastewater and waste systems with emphasis on recovery of biopolymers and nutrients from wastewater and water reuse
  • Biological aerated filters (BAF) and membrane bioreactors (MBR) for wastewater and micro-pollutants removal
  • Sorption and degradation of veterinary antibiotics and estrogens in soils, surface water, manure lagoons and in wastewater treatment systems
  • Water quality monitoring - Des Moines River Water Quality Network (DRWQM), Red Rock and Saylorville Reservoirs
  • Bioremediation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons at former manufactured gas plant sites and the application of natural attenuation

Brief Biography

Honors and Awards
  • Erskine Fellow, University of Canterbury, New Zealand, 2011
  • Water Environment Federation (WEF) McKee Groundwater Protection, Restoration or Sustainable Use Medal, 2008
  • Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors (AEESP) Outstanding Teaching Award, 2005
  • Montgomery-Watson-Harza/Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors (AEESP) Master's Thesis Award, First Place (Student - Angela Kolz), 2005
  • Annual Metcalf & Eddy Environmental Engineering Design Competition, First Place, Academic Adviser to Undergraduate Design Team (Tom Bruton, Iris Caldwell and Stephanie Peters), 2005
  • ISU Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement in Teaching, 2004
  • Montgomery-Watson/Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors (AEESP)
  • Master's Thesis Award, First Place (Student - Shane W. Rogers), 2000

Selected Publications

  1. Wikiniyadhanee, R., S. Chotpantarat, S.K. Ong, 2016. "Kaolinite and Cd2+ transport and interaction in sand media: batch and column experiments," Terrestrial, Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences Journal, 27(2):195-202. (DOI: http://tao.cgu.org.tw/pdf/v272p195.pdf)
  2. Tian, Q., S. K. Ong, X. Xie , F. Li, Y. Zhu, F. R. Wang, B. Yang, 2015, "Enhanced phosphorus recovery and biofilm microbial community changes in an alternating anaerobic/aerobic biofilter," Chemosphere 144:1797-1806 (DOI: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0045653515302678).
  3. Sikkema, J. K., S. K. Ong, J. E. Alleman, 2015, "Photocatalytic concrete pavements: Laboratory investigation of NO oxidation rate under varied environmental conditions," Construction and Building Materials, 100:305-314. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0950061815304281
  4. Mao, F., S.K. Ong, J. Gaunt, 2015. "Modeling benzene permeation through drinking water high density polyethylene (HDPE) pipes," Journal of Water and Health, 13(3):758-772. (DOI: 10.2166/wh.2015.183). http://jwh.iwaponline.com/content/13/3/758
  5. Lertpaitoonpan, W., T. Moorman, S.K. Ong, 2015. "Effect of swine manure on sulfamethazine degradation in aerobic and anaerobic soils," Water, Air and Soil Pollution Journal, 226(3):81-94 (DOI: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11270-014-2286-1).
  6. Chung, J. D. Fleege, S. K. Ong, Y. W. Lee, 2014. "Organic semiconductor wastewater treatment using a four-stage Bardenpho® with membrane system," Environmental Technology, 35(22):2837-2845 (DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09593330.2014.924565).
  7. S. Homklin, S. K. Ong, and T. Limpiyakorn. (2012) "Degradation of 17α-methyltestosterone by Rhodococcus sp. and Nocardioides sp.isolated from a masculinizing pond of Nile tilapia fry," Journal of Hazardous Materials, Vol. 221-222, pp. 35-44 (DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhazmat.2012.03.072).
  8. C. L. Cheng, J. Gaunt, S. K. Ong, and F. Mao. (2012) "Permeation of gasoline through ductile iron pipe gaskets in water mains," J AWWA, Vol. 104, No. 4, pp. E271-E281 (DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5942/jawwa.2012.104.0052).
  9. Z. E. Ilhan, S. K. Ong, and T. Moorman. (2012) "Herbicide and antibiotic removal by woodchip denitrification filters: sorption processes," Water, Air and Soil Pollution, Vol. 223, No. 5, pp. 2651-2662 (DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11270-011-1057-5).
  10. T. Limpiyakorn, S. Homklin, and S. K. Ong. (2011) "Fate of estrogens and estrogenic potential in sewerage systems," Critical Reviews in Environmental Science and Technology, Vol. 41, Issue 13, pp. 1231-1270 (DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10643380903488680).
  11. C. B. Ersu, S. K. Ong, E. Arslankaya, and P. Brown. (2010) "Impact of solids residence time on biological nutrient removal performance of membrane bioreactor," Water Research, Vol. 44, Issue 10, pp. 3192-3202 (DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.watres.2010.02.036).
  12. S. W. Rogers, S. K. Ong, and T. B. Moorman. (2007) "Mineralization of PAHs in coal-tar impacted aquifer sediments and associated microbial community structure investigated with FISH," Chemosphere, Vol. 69, Issue 10, pp. 1563-1573 (DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2007.05.058).