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Resistant bacteria can grow in an antibiotic-treated culture medium. (Photo: Helmut Bürgmann, Eawag)
October 18, 2017

Compared to other foodstuffs, Switzerland’s drinking water shows low levels of contamination with antibiotic-resistant bacteria or resistance genes. This was demonstrated in a study of eight drinking water systems carried out by Eawag researchers on behalf of the Swiss Gas and Water Industry Association (SVGW) and water suppliers. Read more

Pond snails are affected by temperature stress and exposure to micropollutants. (Photo: Marko Koenig, Imagebroker, Okapia)
October 16, 2017

In a laboratory experiment, Eawag ecologists studied how the pond snail Lymnaea stagnalis is affected by heatwaves, which are expected to become more frequent as a result of climate change. Snails exposed to temperature stress showed a greater investment in reproduction, egg production increasing by 60 per cent on average.  Read more

Many years after pesticides are applied, residues can still be detected in soils. (Photo: Markus Bolliger, FOEN)
October 12, 2017

According to a study funded by the Federal Office for the Environment, pesticides or transformation products can persist in soils for a decade or more. In the study, Eawag and Agroscope scientists analysed topsoil samples collected from 14 agricultural sites between 1995 and 2008 as part of the Swiss Soil Monitoring Network programme.  Read more

Sampling at the Werdhölzli treatment plant in Zurich. (Photo: Eawag, Elke Suess)
October 10, 2017

A study just published by Eawag scientists shows that gold and silver each amounting to around CHF 1.5 million a year are lost via effluents and sludge from wastewater treatment plants in Switzerland. The concentrations measured do not pose risks to the environment – and recycling would not be economically worthwhile. However, the study also produced surprising findings on other trace elements in wastewater, including rare earth metals such as gadolinium and the heavy metal niobium. Read more

The network of Swiss water forums, which frequently take the form of working groups or subcommittees within larger associations. (Graphic: Fischer et al.)
October 9, 2017

A study by Eawag environmental social scientists has identified a total of 23 forums in Switzerland concerned with water-related issues, such as the Swiss Water Management Association (SWV), Water Agenda 21, the Swiss Water Association (VSA) and the Swiss Gas and Water Industry Association (SVGW).  Read more

Collection of water samples from Lake Cadagno (canton of Ticino, 1920 m asl). (Photo: Eawag, Helmut Bürgmann)
October 5, 2017

Single-celled bacteria are capable of mixing water layers in lakes – not directly, by movement of their flagella, but by accumulating locally and thus increasing water density. The heavier water then sinks, creating circular currents. Researchers have now observed this process for the first time not just in the laboratory, but in a natural water body – Lake Cadagno (canton of Ticino). Read more

Jörg Rieckermann awarded with “Mid-term Career Achievement Award” (Photo: ICUD 2017)
October 4, 2017

Jörg Rieckermann, group leader within Eawag’s Urban Water Management department, was awarded with the “Mid-term Career Achievement Award” during this year’s International Conference on Urban Drainage (ICUD) in Prague. Every three years, the Joint Committee on Urban Drainage (JCUD) recognizes outstanding achievements of professionals in the field of urban drainage by bestowing this career achievement award. Read more

Fig.1: Scientists use electro-fishing to catch trout for their experiments. Photo: Petra Nobs, Eawag
October 3, 2017

Trout that live in stable ecosystems divide the prey spectrum among themselves and develop into specialists. In streams with instable food supply, however, the trout become generalists. Sticklebacks from different evolutionary lineages alter their environment by their feeding habits. This is deleterious to their descendants except they are hybrids. Understanding the interaction between species and environment is important for the effective protection of biodiversity.  Read more

Gabriele Mayer (Photo: Raoul Schaffner, Eawag)
October 2, 2017

At a meeting held on 28 September, the ETH Board elected Gabriele Mayer, Head of the Finance and Personnel Departments, as the latest new member of the Eawag Directorate. In this capacity, Gabriele Mayer will be representing Eawag in the areas of compliance, corporate governance and support. She takes up her new role on 1st October 2017. Read more

Antifouling treatment protects submerged surfaces from attachment of unwanted organisms. Photo: Limnomar, CC-BY-SA 4.0
September 27, 2017

In order to protect ship hulls and other surfaces exposed to water from algae, molluscs and crustaceans, they are coated with so-called antifouling biocides. Such biocides do not only protect the surfaces, however, but are often leached into the environment and can harm other life forms.  Read more

The Lago di Luzzone dam. (Photo: Joujou, Pixelio.de)
September 13, 2017

In line with the results of the recent referendum on the revised Energy Act, a representative survey conducted by Eawag environmental economists found that 78 per cent of the Swiss population support the phase-out of nuclear power. Read more

September 12, 2017

Conversion of organic waste into valuable products is becoming more widespread, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. The treatment of waste by larvae of the black soldier fly (BSF) has especially raised much attention in recent years.  Despite these advances, a significant need existed for guidelines on how to set up and operate a commercially viable treatment facility. The Black Soldier Fly Biowaste Processing: A Step-by-Step Guide published in July 2017 summarises the results of ten years of research and development in this field at Eawag and imparts valuable know-how through practical advice and instructions. Read more

Coenonympha hero, Vladimir Sazonov/Shutterstock.com
September 8, 2017

Imported plants, which proliferate widely along bodies of water, for example, are a threat to biodiversity. Based on data from biodiversity monitoring, the WSL, Eawag and the Helmholz Centre for Environmental Research in Halle investigated what influence 31 invasive neophytes have on butterflies in Switzerland.  Read more

The list of adverse effects caused by agriculture to waterbodies is a long one. Photo: Markus Zeh
September 5, 2017

Dried-up ponds, culverted streams, contamination with fertilisers and pesticides – the list of adverse effects caused by agriculture to water and waterbodies is a long one. Shortening this list is a major challenge, not only for agriculture but also for society as a whole. Supplying humanity with food is, after all, equally important. At the Eawag Info Day, experts demonstrated that the conflicts between use and protection can be addressed through objective dialogue, transparently stated goals and a broad raft of measures. Read more

Ipsach lake waterworks (photo : ESB, Oliver Oettli)
September 1, 2017

Will global warming force a shift in Biel’s drinking water intake? What caused the sudden turbidity of the water supply in the winter of 2009? Eawag has come up with answers to these and other questions for Energy Service Biel, and in the process, new questions have also emerged. Read more

Bastian Etter checks the quality of the stabilised urine, from which fertilizer will be made.
August 25, 2017

Eawag researchers working on the research project “VUNA” have developed a new recycling process with which nutrients in urine can be harvested and used as fertilizer. In order to further their ideology of sustainable handling of water and wastewater and to work out and implement innovative concepts of water and wastewater treatment, the researchers have founded the Spin-off Vuna GmbH.  Read more

Collection of samples from a groundwater pump in the Gujrat district of Punjab province (Photo: Tasawar Khanam, COMSATS)
August 23, 2017

Arsenic-contaminated groundwater used as drinking water or for irrigation may threaten the health of 50 to 60 million people in Pakistan. This is shown by an Eawag-led study – co-financed by SDC – in which data from 1200 groundwater samples was analysed and combined with geological and hydrological parameters to generate a hazard map. Read more

New FIBER co-manager Sébastien Nusslé.
August 4, 2017

From August 2017, FIBER, the fisheries advisory service in Kastanienbaum, will again be managed by a team of two. Corinne Schmid, who currently heads up the office, is looking forward to working with Sébastien Nusslé as co-managers. Read more

The aeroplane Solar Impulse demonstrated the potential of clean-tech innovations. For countries like Switzerland, investment in photovoltaic research and development is more promising than the production of solar panels. Photo: Solar Impulse
July 26, 2017

The emergence of new technologies requires conditions tailored to specific industrial sectors. Social scientists at Eawag have developed a conceptual framework describing the relevant innovation drivers. This should make it possible to identify factors hindering innovation and to design industry‑specific support programmes.  Read more

Eawag scientists handle the wastewater disposal line mess at NEST: At the Water Hub, they develop technologies for the treatment of separated wastewater streams. (Foto: Roman Keller)
July 24, 2017

It has been a year since the research building NEST was inaugurated by Empa and Eawag. Since then, scientists working in the research platform Water Hub have investigated new models and methods to recycle waste water. Experiments for processing and reusing grey water started in June.  Read more

July 19, 2017

Central Switzerland is shaped by Lake Lucerne, which offers not only rich landscape diversity but also habitats for numerous animal species. As part of the Swiss-wide “Projet Lac” study, the lake’s fish fauna was surveyed for the first time using standardized quantitative methods – producing some surprising findings. Read more

Surface temperatures in Lake Geneva on 1.7.2017: while in Geneva and on the southwest shore near Nyon, temperatures below 10 degrees were recorded, in Évian swimmers were enjoying 22 to 23-degree waters. (Source: meteolakes.epfl.ch)
July 13, 2017

If the wind blows away the warm surface waters of a lake, cold water flows in from the depths. As a result of this effect the temperature in Lake Geneva recently sank to 8 degrees. A project led by Eawag and EPFL had predicted this cooling event. Read more

Photo: Universität Zürich
July 11, 2017

Alexander Damm has been appointed by the University of Zurich as Assistant Professor tenure track for remote sensing of water systems, effective as of 1 August 2017. The joint professorship at Eawag and the University of Zurich will enable Eawag to broaden its competence and knowledge in the field of remote sensing. Read more

Nicolas Derlon, Photo: Peter Penicka/Eawag
June 28, 2017

Eawag plays a key role in bridging between theory and practice. To strengthen its connection with the engineering sector in Western Switzerland (Romandie), Eawag has created a new group leader position within the Process Engineering Department. We interviewed the new group leader Nicolas Derlon on the possibilities and challenges of wastewater treatment in Western Switzerland.  Read more

Installation of an automated flow cytometer in a drinking water pumping station in the context of a joined project of Frederik Hammes (Eawag) and Michael Besmer (onCyt Microbiology AG) with a large water utility. (Foto: Frederik Hammes)
June 28, 2017

Flow cytometry has revolutionised the bacteriological assessment of water quality, and with its automation the revolution is progressing even further. Following his successful basic research into this area, a researcher at Eawag has become an entrepreneur. Read more

In the juvenile stage, the European eel (Anguilla anguilla) still has a transparent skin – hence the name “glass eel”. Photo: European Eel Foundation
June 21, 2017

European eels (Anguilla anguilla)  take three years to migrate from the spawning grounds in the Sargasso Sea (east of Florida) to the coasts of Europe, where they grow to maturity. En route, they are guided by subtle local differences in the Earth’s magnetic field. Read more

The "Rainbow Biosystem" team with Severin Schwan (Roche) and Bundesrat Johann Schneider-Ammann (Photo: Alessandro Della Bella)
June 20, 2017

A new business idea – the “Rainbow Biosystem” – developed by researchers at Eawag received the 3rd prize in the business plan category at the award ceremony for the »venture» start-up competition on 19 June. Read more

In the fish room at Eawag: A spawning tray is placed into a tank in order to obtain zebrafish eggs for the FET (Fisch Embryo Toxicity) test.
June 13, 2017

Environmental toxicologists at Eawag have developed new methods to allow tests on new chemicals to be carried out without the need for animal experiments. In place of the conventional experiments using adult fish, the team is now working with fish cells and fish embryos. These alternative methods have numerous advantages, and are seeing increasing demand in industry. This has given rise to an Eawag spin-off. We spoke to its founders. Read more

Photo: Aldo Todaro, Eawag
June 8, 2017

Biologist Florian Altermatt of the Aquatic Ecology department has been appointed Vice‑President of the Swiss Academy of Sciences’ Biodiversity Forum. Altermatt, who holds an SNSF professorship at the University of Zurich, is head of the Spatial Dynamics research group at Eawag. Read more

Rotsee, © Eawag
June 7, 2017

In freshwater lakes, large amounts of the greenhouse gas methane are oxidized by bacteria before it can be emitted into the atmosphere. A study in Lakes Rotsee and Zug has now shown that the bulk of this work is done, not by “classical” methane consumers, but by filamentous bacteria previously known only as contaminants of water supplies. Read more

Fig. 1: The scientists investigated water chemistry and biology in reaches upstream and downstream of WWTPs. (Photo: Eawag)
June 1, 2017

Micropollutants enter rivers and streams in effluents discharged from wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs). As well as having adverse impacts on individual species, these substances appear to alter aquatic ecosystem functions, such as litter decomposition. This was shown by a research project launched by Eawag in view of the planned upgrade of selected Swiss WWTPs to reduce micropollutant loads. The effects of the first upgrades are already evident.  Read more

At Tiefencastel (Canton Graubünden), a bypass tunnel built in 2012 ensures that, rather than accumulating in the Solis reservoir, sediments are transported downstream during high flows. Photo: ewz-Medienarchiv, Matthias Kunfermann
May 18, 2017

Bypass tunnels designed to reduce sediment deposition in reservoirs also have beneficial effects on ecological conditions in downstream receiving waters. This was the conclusion of a study carried out on the Solis reservoir in Graubünden by biologists from Eawag and the Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW).  Read more

Carpanak close to Van was until the years of 1960 a peninsula, accessible by foot. Photo: Yama Tomonaga
May 16, 2017

The sediments of Lake Van in Eastern Anatolia (Turkey) are a valuable climate archive. Now, using the salinity measured in sediment porewater, scientists have reconstructed the huge lake-level fluctuations that occurred over the past 250,000 years. This approach – based on simple physical concepts – is likely to be more widely applied in the future. Read more

On Soppensee (Canton Lucerne) – photo: Eawag
May 9, 2017

Analyses of environmental gases which previously required months of laboratory work can now be carried out rapidly in the field. A group of Eawag scientists have developed a portable mass spectrometer allowing on-site measurements – and a spin-off has been created to commercialize the new system. Read more

Jürg Sigrist – winner in SNSF photography competition
May 4, 2017

Jürg Sigrist has won first prize in the “Women and Men of Science” category in the Swiss National Science Foundation photography competition. Read more

Fieldwork on Lake Victoria
May 2, 2017

A conflict is developing in Africa’s Lake Victoria between fish farming in cages and the “normal” fishing industry. Added to that are other factors such as invasive species, wastewater pollution, pesticides and dam construction are putting the unique ecosystem under increasing pressure.  Read more

Janet Hering
April 28, 2017

The IHE Delft Institute for Water Education has awarded Eawag Director Janet Hering an honorary fellowship. The Dutch institute researches aquatic issues in developing countries and emerging economies, promotes knowledge transfer in these regions and contributes to the training of local aquatic professionals.  Read more

Fig. 1: In the laboratory, scientist Tony Merle tests the novel membrane-based process for ozonation of bromide-containing water: ozone gas fed into a glass reactor diffuses into the water through PTFE membranes. Photo: Andres Jordi, Eawag
April 27, 2017

If drinking water or wastewater containing bromide is treated with ozone to remove micropollutants, bromate – a potentially carcinogenic substance – is formed. Eawag scientists have developed a new process which makes it possible to minimize bromate formation during ozonation. This is achieved by transferring ozone to the water in small doses through the pores of PTFE membranes.  Read more

Grafik: ENSI
April 19, 2017

In early 2015, the National Cooperative for the Disposal of Radioactive Waste, Nagra, proposed two locations for storage in deep geological repositories. Read more

Photo: Eawag / Plancton
April 11, 2017

Although chemical micropollutants are known to affect the ecology of natural waters, it has remained unclear how they do so. An Eawag study has now shown that increasing concentrations of pharmaceuticals and personal care products reduce the diversity of algae in a lake, giving rise to more homogeneous communities with a reduced capacity to adapt to fluctuations in environmental conditions. Read more

Synthetic silver  nanoparticles , magnified by a factor of 100,000 (Eawag, Ralph Kägi)
April 6, 2017

Over the past five years, 23 Swiss research groups have been investigating the behaviour of synthetic nanomaterials. Today the steering Committee and project leaders present their findings and a synthesis in a press conference at Bern. One of the main aims of National Research Programme 64 was to assess the risks they pose for human health and the environment.  Read more

Photo: Markus Zeh
April 4, 2017

Small watercourses are contaminated with large numbers of herbicides, fungicides and insecticides. A study commissioned by the Federal Office for the Environment and published today shows that the legal requirements specified for water quality are not met in any of the five Swiss streams investigated.  Read more

Die beiden Eawag-Forscherinnen Maryna Peter (mitte) und Regula Meierhofer (rechts) mit der prix.eco Auszeichnung. (Foto: eco.ch)
April 3, 2017

On 31 March 2017, «Gravit’eau» – a project run jointly by Eawag and the FHNW School of Life Sciences – was awarded the main eco.ch 2017 prize in front of around 500 guests in Theater Basel. Read more

In 2016, the hydropower company Kraftwerke Oberhasli AG opened a retention basin at Innerkirchen to mitigate unnatural discharge fluctuations in the Hasliaare. Photo: Markus Zeh
November 8, 2016

Hydropeaking operations at storage hydropower plants affect hydrological processes and have adverse impacts on river ecosystems. For example, rapid and intense fluctuations in discharge can cause fish and macroinvertebrates to be flushed downstream or stranded. Read more

Photo: Aldo Todaro
June 29, 2016

In recent decades, Swiss water protection efforts have focused on reducing nutrient inputs; today, one of the main concerns is controlling micropollutants. Read more

Fig. 1: Juvenile whitefish prior to their release from a hatchery into Lake Thun. (Photo: Emanuel Ammon, Ex-Press)
April 21, 2016

In the last century, the natural reproduction of whitefish and Arctic char in several Swiss lakes was adversely affected by high levels of nutrient inputs. So far, stocking measures have been implemented in efforts to support fish populations and maintain yields. The effectiveness of these measures varies according to the particular species and lake. Read more