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Assessments of the ecotoxicity of pharmaceuticals focus on parent compounds because data on transformation products is generally unavailable. (Photo: Caro/Sorge)
March 14, 2017

Over 8000 pharmaceuticals, with more than 3000 active substances, are currently authorized in Switzerland. Transformation products – arising from biological and chemical degradation processes – can sometimes be more toxic to aquatic organisms than the parent compounds; they may also be problematic as a result of their higher mobility.  Read more

Sediment was retrieved with a Multicorer to allow for a detailed analysis of sediment biogeochemistry and its inhabitants along a transect of oxygen concentrations. (© R. North, Eawag, Switzerland)
February 10, 2017

Periodic oscillations of bottom-water oxygen concentrations can alter benthic communities and carbon storage for decades, reveals a new study published in Science Advances. This is particularly relevant as low oxygen conditions are on the rise in the world’s oceans. Read more

Main switch of the ozone generator at Neugut WWTP. Foto: Flurin Bertschinger/Ex-Press
December 1, 2016

In Switzerland, even though levels of antibiotic use in medical and veterinary applications are comparatively low, the prevalence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria is increasing. These bacteria can also enter water systems via wastewater treatment plants. Read more

With mass spectrometry, even minute traces of substances can be detected. (Photo: Raoul Schaffner)
November 24, 2016

Database experts from Japan, the US and Europe have developed an algorithm which allows information on mass spectra to be standardized. The so-called SPLASH (SPectraL hASH) makes it easier to search for mass spectra online. Read more

Fig. 1: To help them better understand the system dynamics of wastewater disposal, the researchers install wireless sensors directly in the sewage system.
November 16, 2016

With the help of modern sensors and the innovative remote data transfer system LoRaWAN, researchers at Eawag are investigating the relationships between precipitation and the resulting drainage processes. It is hoped that the new technology, otherwise known as the “Internet of Things”, will enable wastewater disposal and sewage systems to be run as efficiently as possible, as well as allowing the quality of wastewater and waterbodies to be monitored. Read more

Photo: Eawag, Florence Metz
November 14, 2016

The “Regional Water Supply for Basel-Landschaft 21” project, which was started in 2013, culminated today in a media conference in Liestal. Read more

Fig. 1: The blaze in Schweizerhalle resulted in catastrophic environmental pollution. Thirty years on, however, the overall picture in terms of water protection is a positive one.
October 31, 2016

On 1 November 1986, a chemical warehouse at Schweizerhalle near Basel was destroyed by a fire. Aquatic life in the Rhine suffered catastrophic damage as a result of inflows of toxic, red-coloured firefighting water. Read more

Ozone generator at a WWTP. (Photo: Urs von Gunten)
October 25, 2016

In the coming years, around a hundred wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) across Switzerland are to be upgraded with an additional treatment step in order to eliminate micropollutants. The method of choice is often ozonation. Read more

Maldi-MSI imaging method visualises cocaine accumulation in zebrafish.
September 29, 2016

A study by Eawag and Zurich University researchers using a new imaging method has revealed that, surprisingly, cocaine accumulates in the eyes of zebrafish. The findings indicate that chemicals – especially psychoactive drugs – need to be assessed quite differently with waterborne exposure than, for example, when pharmaceutical substances are tested in mice. In particular, the uptake mechanisms and effects of cocaine in fish cannot simply be transferred to mammals or humans. Read more

Biofilms – the slimy layer of microorganisms covering the bottom of streams – serve important ecosystem functions. Photo: Jörg Hemmer
May 25, 2016

Biofilms are complex communities of microorganisms such as bacteria or algae. In aquatic ecosystems, they serve essential functions, e.g. as a food resource. They also play an important role in wastewater treatment and in biofuel production. Read more