Drinking Water

Prevention is better than cure

Thanks to the fact that Switzerland’s surface waters have been kept clean, this maxim has to a large extent been upheld. However, the presence of new (harmful) substances allows no room for complacency on this front. Globally, there is an urgent need for cost-effective and energy-efficient water treatment solutions on various scales - all the way through to wastewater recycling.


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February 22, 2018

The earth’s water supply is changing because of global warming: the ratio of precipitation to evaporation is sinking, and additional arid zones may emerge. The speed at which this development is likely to take place has been analysed by an international team including Eawag researchers.  Read more

February 15, 2018

A shower hose will often contain more bacteria than the rest of the building’s plumbing system. A research team led by Frederik Hammes has been investigating this topic for the past four years. In their latest study, they analysed biofilms in 78 shower hoses from 11 countries, and in 21 of them, they detected legionella – a potential pathogen. In this interview, Hammes explains why we should not be unduly concerned. Read more


Scientific publications

Oh, S.; Hammes, F.; Liu, W.-T. (2018) Metagenomic characterization of biofilter microbial communities in a full-scale drinking water treatment plant, Water Research, 128, 278-285, doi:10.1016/j.watres.2017.10.054, Institutional Repository
Spahr, S.; von Gunten, U.; Hofstetter, T. B. (2017) Carbon, hydrogen, and nitrogen isotope fractionation trends in N-nitrosodimethylamine reflect the formation pathway during chloramination of tertiary amines, Environmental Science and Technology, 51(22), 13170-13179, doi:10.1021/acs.est.7b03919, Institutional Repository
Epting, J.; Huggenberger, P.; Radny, D.; Hammes, F.; Hollender, J.; Page, R. M.; Weber, S.; Bänninger, D.; Auckenthaler, A. (2018) Spatiotemporal scales of river-groundwater interaction – The role of local interaction processes and regional groundwater regimes, Science of the Total Environment, 618, 1224-1243, doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.09.219, Institutional Repository
Besmer, M. D.; Hammes, F.; Sigrist, J. A.; Ort, C. (2017) Evaluating monitoring strategies to detect precipitation-induced microbial contamination events in karstic springs used for drinking water, Frontiers in Microbiology, 8, 2229 (12 pp.), doi:10.3389/fmicb.2017.02229, Institutional Repository
Podgorski, J. E.; Eqani, S. A. M. A. S.; Khanam, T.; Ullah, R.; Shen, H.; Berg, M. (2017) Extensive arsenic contamination in high-pH unconfined aquifers in the Indus Valley, Science Advances, 3(8), e1700935, doi:10.1126/sciadv.1700935, Institutional Repository
To the library
Lanz, K.; Rahn, E.; Siber, R.; Stamm, C. (2014) Bewirtschaftung der Wasserressourcen unter steigendem Nutzungsdruck, 84 p, Institutional Repository
Hoffmann, S.; Hunkeler, D.; Maurer, M. (2014) Nachhaltige Wasserversorgung und Abwasserentsorgung in der Schweiz. Herausforderungen und Handlungsoptionen. Thematische Synthese 3 im Rahmen des Nationalen Forschungsprogramms NFP 61 «Nachhaltige Wassernutzung», 83 p, Institutional Repository

Selected research projects and programs

An inter- and transdisciplinary strategic research program that strives to develop novel non-gridconnected water and sani- tation systems that can function as comparable alternatives to network-based systems.


Prof. Dr. Janet Hering
  • biogeochemistry
  • sustainable water management
  • water treatment
  • water quality
Dr. Stephan Hug
  • arsenic
  • solid-water interfaces
  • groundwater
  • spectroscopic methods
Prof. Dr. Rolf Kipfer
  • noble gases
  • isotopes
Dr. Wouter Pronk
  • drinking water
  • water treatment
Prof. Dr. Mario Schirmer
  • groundwater
  • hydrogeology
  • modeling
  • surface water
Prof. Dr. Urs Von Gunten
  • advanced oxidation processes
  • ozonation
  • drinking water
  • water treatment
Prof. Dr. Lenny Winkel
  • inorganic contaminants
  • arsenic
  • groundwater
  • organic pollutants
  • sediments
  • selenium