Dr. Hans Peterson was a founding member of SDWF in 1998 and he was its first Executive Director. Dr. Hans, as he was affectionately known, held the voluntary Executive Director position at SDWF for over 10 years (from 1997 until 2009). Later, he returned to volunteer with SDWF as its Ambassador. Dr. Hans had one dream and that was to provide water treatment solutions to even the smallest community with the poorest quality raw water source. Dr. Hans was also a founding member of the Advanced Aboriginal Water Treatment Team (AAWTT) and, its successor, the Safe Drinking Water Team (SDWT) (www.safedrinkingwaterteam.org), for which he was a Scientific Advisor. Hans worked tirelessly to try to get safe drinking water to rural and First Nations communities.
Near the end of his life, Hans always included the following quote in his email signature, “For many of us, clean water is so plentiful and readily available that we rarely, if ever, pause to consider what life would be like without it.” - Marcus Samuelsson.
Quotes from Dr. Hans Peterson:
“Then one day I was back in Saskatoon and was biking on the dirt trails along the river when I started to count the number of people who now have safe drinking water due to our work, more than 100,000.”
“I began to think about drinking water treatment again, I started to dream about a world that had abandoned expensive and ineffective chemical treatment processes in favour of inexpensive and effective biological treatment.”
“Any raw water source is a smorgasbord for bacteria. As long as we supply ice cream, steak, French fries and Greek salads to the bacteria we will continue to fail to produce safe drinking water even if we meet every regulation in the book.”
“He was a champion for safe drinking water, working tirelessly to ensure people had access to water they could drink without holding their nose or getting sick. I learned much from Hans. He taught me to think critically about water quality issues and how governments respond to them. We sparred. We debated. We talked. We shared. We found common ground in our shared belief that everyone, no matter where they live, has a right to safe drinking water. He has touched the lives of many with his good work and many have been inspired by his passion. Those he has inspired will carry on fighting for safe, drinkable water. Hans was my colleague and my friend.” - Tim Bonish, Regional Manager, Environmental Public Health Services, Indigenous Services Canada
“Hans was a great, caring man. He is going to be missed by all who knew him.” - Agnes Kryzanowski, Richard Ceslak & Family
“I will always remember his passion, dedication and selfless commitment to the issues surrounding water which were so important to him. He was responsible for starting Safe Drinking Water Foundation and all of our lives [the lives of the employees and the board members] have intersected because of him. Our continuing efforts moving forward will be a great tribute to Hans.” - Ray Blumenfeld, Chair, Safe Drinking Water Foundation
“Hans was so very helpful and generous with his knowledge and, on behalf of the numerous people who do not know of his work, thank you for safe water.” - Carl Shirt, Water Treatment Operator, Saddle Lake, Alberta
“I had the great fortune to be encouraged, helped and mentored by Hans as a graduate student. There are many things I am grateful to Hans for - not least the experiences and future opportunities made possible by his hard work over those years. He had a deep commitment to family and was engaged in scientific and practical work to improve the lives of others, especially on the subject of clean water and environmental quality. Hans has left a laudable legacy.” - Ken Scott, Senior Scientist, Technical Resources Branch, Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment
“Hans was a man on a mission to provide affordable solutions to water treatment for those most in need of one of our most basic pillars of life… safe, clean drinking water. Clean water for all, as Hans would say. In the early 1990s, Hans, as Director of the Water Quality Section of the Saskatchewan Research Council, conducted water quality method development for my Section at Environment Canada. He was a pleasure to work with and I have very fond memories of my visits to SRC in Saskatoon for method research progress meetings. Those were exciting times in terms of novel pollution measurement methods. I have not worked directly with Hans since he left the Saskatchewan Research Council years ago, but we had stayed in touch.” - Rick Scroggins, Chief, Biological Methods Section, Environment and Climate Change Canada
“Hans and I studied together in Dundee many moons ago and collaborated on numerous projects together over the years. Always enjoyed our meetings in Scotland and Saskatoon sharing life stories and some science.” - Dr. Nick Christofi, Professor/Chief Scientific Officer, Recyclatech Group Limited
“His research on drinking water and wastewater treatment helped at-risk communities across the world… We will fondly remember Dr. Hans and are grateful for his contributions to water research and society.” - University of Saskatchewan School of Environment and Sustainability
“I knew Hans for over 20 years as a colleague involved with water issues. As someone on the provincial side of water management, I had many interactions with Hans over the years in his quest to improve drinking water quality that continued most recently into my retirement. His passion and commitment was only exceeded at times by his frustration with why people didn’t seem to appreciate the importance of proper water treatment. His leadership on this issue will be missed.” - Wayne Dybvig, Retired Vice President, Saskatchewan Watershed Authority
“Dr. Peterson was a respected colleague, leader, and passionate advocate for safe drinking water across Canada. Dr. Peterson is well known for pioneering the invention of the Integrated Biological Reverse Osmosis Membrane (IBROM) water treatment process at the Yellow Quill First Nation. This unique and innovative process has been implemented in over 21 communities today, providing clean, safe water to many people - some who had not been able to drink from their taps in decades. His dedication, experience, and the relationships he built in these communities are irreplaceable and he will be greatly missed.” - Sapphire Water International Corp.
“There’s over 100,000 people who have safe drinking water because of Peterson’s invention. Even after he retired he was working 18-hour days trying to push water issues forward… We are going to be continuing the fight to have safe drinking water for everyone.” - Nicole Hancock, Executive Director, Safe Drinking Water Foundation