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Media Releases

Media Releases

The English translations do not always appear simultaneously with the German texts. See German page for latest version.

22 May 2015

Martin Ackermann has been appointed full professor at ETH Zurich
At its meeting on 20 and 21 May  2015, the ETH Board appointed Eawag-scientist Professor Martin Ackermann as Full Professor of Molecular Microbial Ecology. At Eawag, Martin Ackermann leads the group « Molecular Microbial Ecology » within the department Environmental Microbiology. [...]

22 May 2015

Christian Zurbrügg to join the Directorate
At the proposal of the Director of Eawag, Prof. Janet Hering, the ETH Board has appointed Dr  Christian Zurbrügg (*1962) as a new member of the Directorate. As of 1 August 2015 Christian Zurbrügg will succeed Prof. Peter Reichert, who is stepping down at the end of July 2015. [...]

22 April 2015

Evolution makes invading species spread even faster
Today, invasive animals and plants spread all around the globe. Predicting the dynamics of these invasions is of great ecological and socio-economical interest. Yet studying them is fundamentally challenging because of the large spatial and temporal scales involved. Scientists at Eawag and University of Zurich are now using computer simulations and small artificial laboratory worlds, to study how rapid evolution makes invaders spread even faster. [...]

21 April 2015

Continuing decline in biodiversity
Biodiversity in Switzerland has continued to decline sharply in recent decades, and this trend is persisting. This is the result of an analysis by 35 scientific institutions all over Switzerland. Experts spoke today at the Zurich Zoo and the Neuchâtel Natural History Museum about their findings. [...]

9 April 2015

Major Commendation for Urs von Gunten
The Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) has honoured Urs von Gunten, from the Water Resources and Drinking Water department, with a professorship as part of the President’s International Fellowship for Distinguished Scientists initiative. The CAS awards this commendation in order to recognise leading international scientists for outstanding contributions in their field. [...]

18 March 2015

Native fish species under pressure in the Engadine and Poschiavo
An international research team led by Eawag, Bern University and the Bern Natural History Museum has shed light on the depths of alpine and prealpine lakes. In “Projet Lac”, fish populations – such as those in Lake Sils (Silsersee) and Lago di Poschiavo – have been surveyed more systematically than ever before. [...]

3 March 2015

Methane oxidation fuelled by algal oxygen production
Methane emissions are strongly reduced in lakes with anoxic bottom waters. But here – contrary to what has previously been assumed – methane removal is not due to archaea or anaerobic bacteria. A new study on Lake Cadagno in Canton Ticino shows that the microorganisms responsible are aerobic proteobacteria. The oxygen they require is produced in situ by photosynthetic algae. [...]

13 February 2015

A short trip with federal Councillor Doris Leuthard to South Africa
From 2 to 5 February a Swiss delegation with Eawag Director Janet Hering was four days on the road with Federal Councillor Doris Leuthard in South Africa. The working visit was focussed on energy and climate policy. Five questions to Janet Hering after her return. [...]

6 February 2015

Janet Hering elected for US Academy of Engineering
The National Academy of Engineering (NAE) has elected 67 new members and 12 foreign members, announced NAE President Dan Mote Jr. Thursday, February 5th. This brings the total U.S. membership to 2263 and the number of foreign members to 221. Among the new elected members is also Eawag director, Prof Janet Hering. [...]

15 January 2015

Research for the energy turnaround
Mandated by the Federal Council, the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) is launching two National Research Programmes (NRPs) to explore scientific and technological as well as social and economic aspects of implementing Energy Strategy 2050. [...]

12 December 2014

Alfred Johny Wüest to become a member of the Eawag Directorate
At its meeting on 10 and 11 December 2014, the ETH Board elected Johny Wüest to become a member of the Eawag Directorate. He will take office on 1 March 2015 as successor to Prof Bernhard Wehrli, who represented Kastanienbaum in the Directorate and will leave office at the end of February 2015. [...]

11 December 2014

Sampling rivers for genes rather than organisms
Effective environmental management depends on a detailed knowledge of the distribution of species. But taxonomists are in short supply, and some species can be difficult to identify, even for experts. Eawag, in collaboration with Canton Zurich, is now pursuing a new approach for species identification, requiring no more than samples of DNA shed into the environment. [...]

24 November 2014

Otto Jaag Water Protection Prize for Lisa Scholten
At the ETH Day 2014 Lisa Scholten was awarded the Otto Jaag Water Protection Prize for her dissertation. This prize is given in recognition of outstanding doctoral and master‘s dissertations on the topic of water protection and hydrology and was handed over by Prof. Dr. Lino Guzzella, Rector ETHZ. In her dissertation, Lisa examined the future challenges in relation to water resources, and how these can be tackled. [...]

4 November 2014

Enough water in the future? Research identifies solutions to potential user conflicts
The Swiss water economy is not optimally prepared to cope with the forthcoming changes in terms of climate and society. Nevertheless, the National Research Programme "Sustainable Water Management" (NRP 61) concludes that Switzerland will have enough water if regional collaboration is expanded, if sustainable solutions to water conflicts are found and if water protection efforts are continued. [...]

19 September 2014

Tove Larsen will become member of directorate
Eawag researcher Dr Tove Larsen will become the new member of the Directorate. She will succeed Professor Hansruedi Siegrist, who will retire at the end of September 2014, as from 1 October 2014. Tove Larsen holds a Doctor’s degree in Chemical Engineering and has been a senior scientist in Eawag’s Department of Urban Water Management since 1999. As a member of the Directorate, Tove Larsen will represent the research field of environmental engineering, thus supporting Eawag’s endeavour to implement innovative technologies in a practical manner. Tove Larsen has already led large-scale research projects in the field of urban water management with a high degree of success. In the course of her activities to date, she was also a Lecturer in Environmental Engineering for eight years at ETH Zurich and a Visiting Professor at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) for one year.
Press release of the ETH Board

9 September 2014

Keeping rivers clean to protect our drinking water
Abundant supplies of safe drinking water are among Switzerland’s most valuable natural resources, with groundwater accounting for 80% of the total. A third of this groundwater, in turn, is fed by infiltrating river water. Although contaminants and pathogens are filtered out as they pass through the soil, this natural protection system is not infallible. That makes it all the more important for river water to be kept as clean as possible, and for interactions between river and groundwater to be carefully observed. [...]

8 September 2014

20 Years of the Weil/Basel Rhine Monitoring Station
Today, Monday 8 September, the Canton of Basel-Stadt, the German Federal State of Baden-Württemberg, the Swiss Federal Office of the Environment and Eawag are somewhat belatedly celebrating the anniversary of the International Rhine Monitoring Station (RMS) in Weil am Rhein. [...]

4 September 2014

A new understanding of evolution
By retracing the history of fish genomes, researchers are shedding light on universal mechanisms of vertebrate evolution: a study published in Nature shows how a reservoir of mutations, accumulated over a long period, facilitated rapid adaptation and speciation in African cichlids. [...]

1 September 2014

What are the social and environmental consequences of Switzerland’s energy change?
The Swiss Federal Institute WSL, together with Eawag, has launched a new research programme: ‘Energy Change Impact’. The programme will highlight the social and environmental impact of the energy change and will show how potential conflicts can be avoided. [...]

29 August 2014

Le Conseiller fédéral Schneider-Ammann en visite à l’Eawag
Le jeudi 28 August 2014, le Ministre de l’Éducation Schneider-Ammann était en visite à l’Eawag. Il félicita la directrice Janet Hering pour sa réélection pour un troisième mandat et il tint des propos très élogieux sur l’Institut. L’Eawag fait partie des fleurons du paysage suisse déjà exceptionnel de la formation et de la recherche, a déclaré le Conseiller fédéral qui assura qu’au Parlement, le soutien en faveur de l’Eawag était tout aussi excellent. [...]

26 August 2014

Construction work on modular research building gets underway
The construction of the modular research and innovation house NEST got underway at its ground-breaking ceremony on August 26. The building’s frame, its “backbone”, should be completed by the summer of 2015, upon which the first research modules will be installed. NEST is a joint project between industry, research and the public sector conducted by Empa and Eawag and erected on the Empa campus in Dübendorf. [...]

20 August 2014

Janet Hering elected for third term as Eawag Director
On the recommendation of the ETH Board the Bundesrat has re-elected Janet Hering as Director of Eawag until 2018. More information and interview with Prof Janet Hering: Switzerland: a leading example of sustainable water management. [...]

11 August 2014

Professorship for Bernhard Truffer
Bernhard Truffer, Head of the Department of Environmental Social Sciences, was appointed Professor of “Geography of Transitions in Urban Infrastructures” at the Faculty for Geosciences in the University of Utrecht at the beginning of August 2014. [...]

24 July 2014

Like a Fish in the Rhine – Professor swims, Eawag analyses
Chemistry professor Andreas Fath from the Furtwangen University in Baden-Württemberg is looking for money for new analysis equipment and for water research at his institute. From 28 July to 24 August he will swim the entire Rhine for this purpose, from the mountains in Graubünden to Rotterdam, including Lake Constance! The Rhine Water Project is, however, more than just a show: along with those accompanying him, Fath will take water samples all along the way and document the changes in Rhine water quality along the whole stretch, analysing also passive collections that cling to his neoprene suit. [...]

19 June 2014

More phosphorus in Lake Lucerne? Eawag is critical.
First Lake Brienz, and now Lake Lucerne – calls are being increasingly made for there to be more phosphorus in Lake Lucerne. The Neuen Luzerner Zeitung argues that the lake is too clean, which is why the fishermen’s yields are too small. Experts at Eawag are critical of the demands to cut down on phosphorus removal at the water treatment plants. They have produced a paper which details the reasons for their stance on the matter.

27 May 2014

Wastewater reveals drug consumption picture
Wastewater contains traces of drugs and their metabolites. This allows us to draw conclusions on drug use – not of individuals, but of entire cities. A study carried out in 2012 and 2013 in 42 European cities shows that above-average quantities of cocaine are consumed in Basel, Geneva, St. Gallen and Zurich. Berne sits in the mid-range, whilst Antwerp and Amsterdam come out on top. [...]

21 May 2014

When fish migrate: International Day of Fish Migration in Lucerne (24 May 2014)
This year, with over 200 events in more than 40 countries, the international day of fish migration is being celebrated for the first time ever. Even the city of Lucerne is crossed by migrating fish. The Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology Eawag and the Lucerne Natural History Museum are therefore inviting people to a stopover point on the “Reuss fish migration route” on Saturday, 24 May 2014: with any luck, the fish passing by will be viewable live on camera. In addition to that, the highlights of video footage from three years’ monitoring of the fish pass will be shown, along with plenty of information on fish migration. Further information (in German) can be found on the website in German.

13 May 2014

Everyone is invited to the event celebrating the completion of the Chriesbach revitalisation!
On Saturday, 17 May 2014, a celebration open to the public will be held along the revitalised Chriesbach on the Eawag premises in Dübendorf. Everyone is invited from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. for a close-up look at the «new» brook. Eawag researchers and Cantonal employees will give glimpses into their research, the brook and its creation at several stations. [...]

8 May 2014

Pesticides: research provides new insights into their effects on shrimps and snails
Ground breaking research by an international team of scientists has resulted in greater understanding of the effects of pesticides on aquatic invertebrates such as shrimps and snails.
Research published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology by a team of scientists from Switzerland, the UK and Finland provides an important new approach for systematically measuring and modelling the sensitivity of aquatic invertebrates to various pesticides. Aquatic invertebrate species are abundant in European freshwaters and play an important role in the decomposition of organic material, as well as serving as a food source for other higher level species. [...]

14 April 2014

Radioactivity in sediments of Lake Biel - Eawag results have been published
In the summer 2013, Eawag and the Swiss Federal Institute for NBC-Protection (LABORATORY SPIEZ) have withdrawn sediment cores from Lake Biel and examined the sediment layers for radioactivity. The study confirms the existence of a Cs-137 peak, which can be assigned to the charges published from 1999 on the nuclear power station Muehleberg. According to the Federal Office of Public Health FOPH the Cs-137 in the sediments of Lake Biel do not pose any risks to health. The full report on the study (in German) can be downloaded on the website of FOPH.
Email: media@bag.admin.ch, Tel: 031 322 9505031 322 9505 (Media contact FOPH)

8 April 2014

Everyone is invited to the event celebrating the completion of the Chriesbach revitalisation!
On Saturday, 17 May 2014, a celebration open to the public will be held along the revitalised Chriesbach on the Eawag premises in Dübendorf. Everyone is invited from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. for a close-up look at the «new» brook. Eawag researchers and Cantonal employees will give glimpses into their research, the brook and its creation at several stations. [...]

4 April 2014

Wastewater Treatment Plant Extension Underway
100 of the more than 700 Swiss wastewater treatment plants can be upgraded for the elimination of micropollutants, thanks to the positive decision of the Federal council. Eawag is in the midst of this major project. Together with the ARA wastewater treatment plant in Dübendorf, Eawag is doing pioneer work, and together with the Swiss Water Association it ensures continuing information exchange. [...]

20 March 2014

SNSF professorship for Florian Altermatt
Florian Altermatt receives an professorships form the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF). The Professorship will be associated with the Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies at the University of Zurich. The funding period is 4 years and may be extended by no more than 2 years.
Florian Altermatt did his PhD at the University of Basel and was Postdoc at UC Davis in California in the department of Environmental Science and Policy. Since 2011 he is a group leader at Eawag at the Eco department. His research focusses on invasion and dispersal processes in river-like networks.

The press release of the University of Zurich concerning the SNSF professorships (in German only) can be found online.

14 March 2014

Climate change in Switzerland: adaptation and mitigation
Southern Switzerland emerges as a hotspot of the effects of climate change. The bark beetle is putting spruces all over Switzerland under increasing pressure and groundwater temperatures are raising. These are three of many statements from the report «CH2014-Impacts», which deals with the quantitative consequences of climate change for Switzerland. It has been produced under the direction of the Oeschger Center for Climate Change Research of the University of Bern. [...]

11 March 2014

Combining the best of both toilet worlds
The Blue Diversion toilet, developed by Eawag - the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, together with the Vienna-based design firm EOOS, has been awarded the innovation prize for the best applied research by the International Water Association (IWA). Now the team is looking for an industrial partner and investors, so that Blue Diversion can be mass produced. [...]

5 March 2014

Cocktail of pesticides in Swiss rivers
Swiss watercourses contain a whole cocktail of pesticides. Of the 300 or so permitted and detectable active substances, over 100 have been discovered in water samples taken during an extensive screening process. Each sample contained, on average, 40 different substances, and in 78% of the samples, the combined pesticide concentration was over 1µg per litre. The threshold values dictated by the Swiss Water Protection Ordinance were found to have been exceeded for 31 substances. The possibility that plant protection products are having a detrimental effect on aquatic life cannot be ruled out. [...]

25 February 2014

Silver gone astray
It has long been known that, in the form of free ions, silver particles can be highly toxic to aquatic organisms. Yet to this day, there is a lack of detailed knowledge about the doses required to trigger a response and how the organisms deal with this kind of stress. To learn more about the cellular processes that occur in the cells, scientists from the Aquatic Research Institute, Eawag, subjected algae to a range of silver concentrations. [...]

14 February 2014

Significant interest in sustainable infrastructure planning
Over a hundred guests took up the invitation to attend the closing event of the NFP 61 SWIP (Long-term Planning of Sustainable Water Infrastructure) on 23 January 2014. The two people in charge of the project, Judit Lienert from the Environmental Social Sciences department, and Max Maurer from the department of Urban Water Management, were delighted at this very positive response. [...]

22 January 2014

Biofilms: hospitable habitats for bacteria in karst aquifers
According to the proverb, constant dripping wears away the stone, but this is not the whole story: in limestone, a significant role in the formation of fissures and caves appears to be played by microorganisms. However – contrary to what was previously supposed – these are mainly found not in groundwater, but in biofilms growing on rocks. In addition, bacterial colonies provide valuable services by helping to purify karst water, and the composition of microbial communities reflects changes in the catchment area. These are among the findings of an ongoing Eawag study. (This article is part of the actual Eawag-Newsletter). [...]

16 January 2014

Refined model for reliable prediction of invasion dynamics
The question how rapidly animals, plants or microorganisms can colonize new territories is not only of interest to ecologists – the spread of invasive species can also have economic consequences, e.g. in the agricultural sector. Scientists at Eawag and the EPF Lausanne have now refined an existing model and, for the first time, used laboratory experiments to validate its ability to predict biological invasion dynamics. [...]

14 January 2014

Kathrin Fenner is awarded ERC Consolidator Grant
Kathrin Fenner from Eawag’s department of Environmental Chemistry has been awarded a Consolidator Grant by the European Research Council (ERC). The grant of around two million euros will allow her to carry out research over a period of five years within the framework of the PROduCTS project. The research aims to enable forecasting of microbial degradation of pollutants under specific environmental conditions.
The Consolidator Grant is intended to prevent the loss of research talent in Europe and to support the education of the next generation of leading researchers. In order to receive an ERC Consolidator Grant, researchers must therefore have already demonstrated their potential for scientific independence and maturity. As an international expert in her field, it was the scientific calibre of her research that won Kathrin Fenner the attention of the selection committee.
Press release as pdf

8 January 2014

Escaping trace elements from a peatland in Ticino
Natural wetlands are well-known for their large share in global methane emissions via biological processes but until now it has not been investigated if wetlands could also be important emitters of trace elements. A new study that was carried out at Eawag in cooperation with four other research institutes shows that the rates in which gaseous selenium, sulfur and arsenic are released from an alpine peat bog are considerable. [...]

12 December 2013

Keeping fish away from turbines
Fish ladders or naturally designed bypass channels allow common nase, barbel and other fish to bypass hydro-electric plants and migrate upstream. Unfortunately, such measures do not work downstream. The fish follow the direction of flow and end up in the turbines. Now a joint project with the Association of Aare and Rhine Power Stations (VAR), the ETH Research Institute for Hydraulic Engineering, Hydrology and Glaciology (VAW) and Eawag is to investigate what measures can be put in place to improve the downstream passage of fish where larger hydro-electric plants are concerned, if possible without compromising electricity production. [...]

3 December 2013

Aquifers suffocate when river beds silt up
River water temperatures have been rising regularly. By analysing data from municipal pumping stations, the Eawag researchers Simon Figura, David Livingstone and Rolf Kipfer have observed that this trend also extends to groundwater,  where the average temperature increase up to 0.6°C every ten years. In the course of the last few decades, the oxygen concentration levels in aquifers in the Swiss Plateau have dropped irregularly. Results of the National Research Programme "Sustainable Water Management” (NRP 61) suggest that the irregular decrease might be related to various degrees of silting in watercourses. [...]

5 November 2013

Infrastructure: Beware of investment backlog
The engineering firm Hunziker Betatech has devised an unusual 50th anniversary present for itself: a study of the condition of the water and sewage pipes in Switzerland. This study was undertaken by the Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute with help from Eawag researchers. Their conclusion: beware of an investment backlog! [...]

11 October 2013

Stormwater management in urban areas
“Water protection during wet weather” – the third in a series of annual Aqua Urbanica conferences – brought together over 100 water professionals from Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The event, held at Eawag in Dübendorf, clearly showed that, while there is no lack of solutions for sustainable stormwater management, these need to be considered at an early stage in the planning of urban developments. This requires a multidisciplinary dialogue, as water protection increasingly calls for close collaboration between town planners, engineers and ecologists. [... German]

27 September 2013

Paul-Crutzen-Award 2013 for Eawag PhD
Christoph Moschet was awarded the Paul Crutzen Prize on 25 September 2013 for his publication “Multi-Level Approach for the Integrated Assessment of Polar Organic Micropollutants in an International Lake Catchment: The Example of Lake Constance”. The prize is awarded by the Environmental Chemistry and Ecotoxicology Division of the German Chemical Society (GDCh) for an outstanding scientific work in the field of environmental chemistry and ecotoxicology. The award, carrying a cash prize of 1,500 euros, was made at the SETAC GLB annual conference in Essen. [...]

26 September 2013

Warm summers coincide with less frequent flooding
Over the past 2,500 years, flooding in the Alps has been less frequent during warm summers than during cool summers. This is the finding of a study supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) and carried out by researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag), the WSL, the University of Bern and the ETH Zurich. Their look into the past suggests that the frequency of flooding can be expected to wane in the central Alps. [...]

18 September 2013

Eawag at World Water Week 2013
Over 3,000 participants visited the 23rd Stockholm World Water Week last week from 1st to 5th September. The theme of the week was “Water Partnerships”. The Swiss Water Partnership had a stand there for the first time, jointly organized by and containing information from nine Swiss organisations. Eawag was represented by Chris Zurbrügg and Christoph Lüthi, who organised a research-and-aperitif event (see picture), at which current Eawag research projects were presented to an attentive audience of specialists. [...]

11 September 2013

Massive groundwater withdrawals promote arsenic transport into an uncontaminated aquifer
The 6.5 million inhabitants of Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi, are facing a growing threat: as more and more water is pumped from a deep – previously uncontaminated – aquifer, arsenic‑laden water from shallow sediments is advancing towards the city’s wells. These findings, confirming what had been suspected for some time, are reported in a study – with Eawag participation – published today in Nature. [...]

3 September 2013

Fish Embryos Possess a Mechanism for Protection against Chemicals
Dübendorf/Leipzig. Researchers at Eawag, the Swiss aquatic research institute and colleagues from Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), have discovered a protein which transports chemicals out of the embryo of the zebrafish and in this way protects the embryo against toxic substances. However, certain environmental chemicals render this protective mechanism ineffective, so that the fish embryos become more sensitive to toxic substances. The study, published in the scientific journal "BMC Biology", could prove to be of great importance for the future assessment of chemicals. [...]

22 August 2013

New Risk Model Sheds Light on Arsenic Risk in China's Groundwater
Arsenic-laden groundwater used for cooking and drinking could pose a risk to the health of almost 20 million people across China. This is shown by a study carried out by Eawag scientists in collaboration with Chinese colleagues and published today in Science. The estimates are based on a risk model incorporating geological and hydrological data, as well as measurements of arsenic in wells. The study is being adopted by the authorities in the national groundwater monitoring programme. [...]

3 July 2013

Life isn't something you retire from
In René Schwarzenbach’s view, research should not be confined to one’s own discipline and should venture beyond the bounds of academia. Only a transdisciplinary approach can broaden scientific horizons and promote dialogue with stakeholders and society. He laments the tendency of ranking systems to encourage a return to discipline-oriented research and generate predictable science. [...]

2 July 2013

Successful conference on micropollutants
The Micropol & Ecohazard 2013 Conference came to an end on 20 June 2013. Over 350 participants from around 40 countries gathered together in Zurich at the invitation of the Eawag organisation committee and under the direction of Prof. Hansruedi Siegrist, to learn about the latest developments in the analysis, behaviour and elimination of micropollutants in the urban water cycle. An intensive programme of lectures and poster sessions was on offer. Attracting particular attention were the young researchers, some of whom were presenting their scientific findings to a specialist conference for the first time. [...]

2 July 2013

Predicting novel trophic interactions in a non-native world
Researchers at Cornell University (United States) and Eawag (Switzerland) discovered a general and flexible method to understand how insects may use non-native plants in their diet. The method could accurately predict the use of >400 non-native plants as larval hostplants by 900 different herbivorous butterfly and moth species native to Europe. The results may make the forecasting of novel herbivore communities feasible in order to better understand the fate and impact of introduced plants. [...]

16 May 2013

Insecticides lead to starvation of aquatic organisms
Neonicotinoid insecticides have adverse effects not only on bees but also on freshwater invertebrates. Exposure to low but constant concentrations of these substances – which are highly soluble in water – has lethal effects on these aquatic organisms. [...]

15 May 2013

Eawag Annual Report 2012: Exciting stories from aquatic research
Swiss households are prepared to pay 100 francs more a year for the removal of micro-pollutants from bodies of water, making the planned extension of water treatment plants also economically justifiable. Climate change is leading to greater oxygen depletion, with both water quality and infrastructure suffering as a result. This could make the conditioning of drinking water necessary at times in the future. Eawag process engineers have developed optimisation measures for the overburdened water treatment plant at the Monte-Rosa hut, so that sewage treatment can now keep up with the crowds of visitors, and the process now uses less energy as well. These are three examples of exciting stories from the new Eawag Annual Report 2012. In addition to the facts and figures, it provides exciting insights into the varied activities in research, teaching and consulting. All articles may be reprinted if sources are cited. [...]

29 April 2013

ETH Board: Water is plentiful but forethought is still necessary
Despite melting glaciers, Switzerland faces no shortage of water, even in the long term. Currently only 5% of available annual precipitation is used for the water supply. "Nevertheless, forethought remains important", says Prof. Janet Hering, director of Eawag today at the ETH Board annual press conference. "Catastrophes such as the fire in Schweizerhalle in 1986, creeping problems with chemicals from residential areas, transport and agriculture, use of hydro power and increasingly intensive use of land have a negative impact on water quality and on watercourses in their function as ecosystems." [...]

22 April 2013

«Otto Jaag» - is the name of the new Eawag research boat
«Otto Jaag» is the name that has been given to Eawag’s new research boat, which was launched fittingly and in traditional manner on Greifensee during a modest celebration in Maur on Saturday. The boat bears the name of the influential Director (1900* - 1978†) who was head of Eawag from 1952 to 1970, and led the organisation with a great deal of personal dedication. [...]

18 April 2013

Barely any nanosilver from consumer products in the water
Silver in wastewater can cause severe environmental damage if it occurs as a metal. A study conducted within the scope of the National Research Programme "Opportunities and Risks of Nanomaterials" (NRP 64) now shows that nanosilver is quickly transformed into less problematic substances on its way to the wastewater treatment plant. In addition, it is efficiently retained in the sewage sludge so that only a small portion of it reaches our water. [...]

8 April 2013

Fishing advisory office under new directorship
The Swiss fishing advisory office, FIBER, run jointly by Eawag, the Federal Office for the Environment and the Swiss Fishing Association has been secured for a further three years. The office is designed to promote sustainable fishing, as well as an understanding of healthy water bodies, and the preservation of spawning grounds. The new director of FIBER is fish biologist Bänz Lundsgaard-Hansen. [...]

11 March 2013

Baselland21 Regional Water Supply project begun
The "Basel-Landschaft 21 Regional Water Supply" project will examine current contamination issues and threats to groundwater and drinking water, as well as structural shortcomings in the water supply system. Appropriate solutions for the Canton will be developed from the examples in order to ensure the high quality of the drinking water. [...]

11 March 2013

Improvement of the Chriesbach stream in Dübendorf for nature and leisure
Having been heavily built up over the past century, the Chriesbach stream in Dübendorf will soon be returned to its natural state. A diverse range of animals and plants stand to benefit from this revitalisation. Not only this, but those who are looking for rest and relaxation will also be able to find this along the course of the revived stream. Eawag will be taking advantage of the improvement project to integrate its "own" stream into their educational and research work. [...]

5 March 2013

One law to rule them all – sizes within a species appear to follow an universal distribution
Researchers at Eawag and EPFL discovered what might be a universal property of size distributions in living systems. If valid throughout the animal kingdom, it could have profound implications on how we understand population dynamics of large ecosystems.
Flocks of birds, schools of fish, and groups of any other living organisms might have a mathematical function in common. Studying aquatic microorganisms, Andrea Giometto, a researcher EPFL and Eawag, showed that for each species he studied, body sizes were distributed according to the same mathematical expression, where the only unknown is the average size of the species in an ecosystem. His article was published in PNAS in March 2013. [...]

21 February 2013

Teamwork against mutant free riders
Pathogenic salmonellae rely on a division of labour: some of them see to the common wellbeing, while others are able to stand up to free rider salmonellae better. This teamwork bears certain similarities to that of bee and ant colonies and is the salmonellae’s recipe for success in colonising the gut. [...]

13 February 2013

Research cooperation at Lake Kivu
The main findings of the most recent research partnership project “Lake Kivu: Learning from the past for managing its future”, were presented in two workshops in Kigali and Bukavu. Researchers from the Kigali Institute of Science and Technology (Rwanda), the Institut Supérieur Pédagogique of Bukavu (DR Congo) and Eawag had jointly investigated this fascinating lake during the past three years. [...]

24 January 2013

Drinking water unexpectedly rich in microbial life
Flow cytometry (FCM) can now be officially used for the quantification of microbial cells in drinking water. The new analytical method – developed at Eawag and extensively tested both in Switzerland and abroad – has been incorporated into the Swiss Food Compendium (SLMB) by the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH). FCM provides much more realistic results than the conventional method, in which bacterial colonies are grown on agar plates. The results demonstrate that even good-quality drinking water harbours 100 to 10,000 times more living cells than the conventional plate count method would suggest. [...]

3 December 2012

5 million support for new Chair in limnology
EPFL, Eawag and Ferring Pharmaceuticals today are inaugurating a Chair for the study of lake environments. The Margaretha Kamprad Chair will be supported by Ferring Pharmaceuticals, who will provide CHF 5 million in the context of a private-public partnership. It will be dedicated to the study of lake ecosystems, which are fragile and often heavily affected by human activity. Alfred Wüest, head of the Aquatic Physics at Eawag, has been nominated to hold the Chair. The inauguration tooks place in the presence of Frederik Paulsen, CEO of Ferring, and Ingvar Kamprad, the founder of Ikea. [...]

29 November 2012

Martin Wegelin donates entire prize money
As he had intimated when the J. E. Brandenburger Foundation announced him as the 2012 prize winner, Martin Wegelin confirmed, at the award ceremony on Saturday 24th November in Chur, that he would be dividing the entire prize money of 200,000 Swiss francs between the Sodis Project (CHF 150,000) and the organisation Terres des femmes (CHF 50,000). [...]

28 November 2012

One step closer to "space climate" forecasting
The Sun determines the course of the planets. But the planets may also exert an influence on the Sun. Their configurations appear to be responsible for long-term cycles of increased solar activity. Scientists at Eawag and the ETH Zurich, in collaboration with colleagues from Spain and Australia, have compared cycles of solar magnetic activity over the past 10,000 years – as reconstructed from ice cores – with the action of the planets. The agreement observed is very striking, raising hopes that our ability to forecast periods of intense solar activity may ultimately be improved. This is becoming increasingly important as our society is ever-more dependent on technologies such as satellite communications and navigation systems – as well as power grids – which can be disabled by major solar eruptions. [...]

23 November 2012

Underwater Invasion: Ballenberg or McDonalds?
On invitation of Eawags department for Aquatic Ecology over 40 experts from local and central government, environmental consultancies and research organisations participated on 31st October the first workshop on aquatic invasive species. Far too often, it is ‘just’ goldenrods or grey squirrels that are talked about – and what creeps in or is introduced under the surface of the water gets forgotten. [...]

29 October 2012

Hong Yang appointed Titular Professor at the University of Basel
In September 2012, the title of “Titularprofessorin für nachhaltige Wassernutzung” (Associate Professor for Sustainable Water Use) was conferred on Hong Yang (Siam). Hong Yang has been a researcher at Eawag in Dübendorf since 1999 and heads up the research group for Water, Environment and Food Security. Her research interest lies in understanding the impact of increasing water scarcity on food security and in assessing the impact of food trade. Hong Yang is well known for her studies in “virtual water” and has made the concept more widespread. [...]

25 October 2012

Great honour for «Mister Sodis» Martin Wegelin
The Foundation Dr. J.E. Brandenberger is honouring Martin Wegelin, who was for 25 years a researcher at Eawag. Martin Wegelin has been awarded with the prize of 200,000 francs for achievements in the field of solar water disinfection and in particular the Sodis project. The foundation’s president and former councillor of states, Mr. Carlo Schmid, said that Wegelin’s commitment and engagement rendered it possible that today Sodis is supported by many organizations and promoted by different stakeholders. [...]

12 October 2012

First ozonation facility being built in Dübendorf
On 2nd October 2012 the foundation stone was laid in the Neugut water treatment plant for the first ozonation facility in Switzerland [pdf, German]. On the basis of the findings of the Micropoll project of the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN), which Eawag was closely involved in, a change to the water protection law was submitted for consultation in April. This provides for around 100 of the 700 water treatment plants in Switzerland to be fitted with special purification technology for micropollution. [...]

28 September 2012

Eawag scientist has been appointed full professor at ETH Zurich
The ETH Board has appointed Eawag researcher Dr. Max Maurer as full professor of Urban Water Systems at ETH Zurich. Max Maurer is department head of the department Urban Water Management (SWW). His current field of interest is the engineering potential of innovative approaches to urban water management and innovative management and planning procedures in water infrastructure. In the information bulletin of the ETH Board [pdf] the Board states: “With Max Maurer’s appointment, the Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering gains a scientist with a reputation as a driving force in inter- and trans disciplinary research in the internationally relevant topic of urban water management.”

15 August 2012

Swiss Researchers invent a new Toilet
There are 2.6 billion people in the world who have no access to a decent toilet. An interdisciplinary team of Swiss aquatic researchers and designers from Austria won with their invention as part of the 'Re-invent the Toilet' competition, sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation a special recognition award. The new toilet model will provide a sanitary solution that ensures human dignity and hygiene, while also being environment-friendly and economically feasible. All for less than five Cents per day and person. [...]

10 August 2012

Pardo d'onore for Eawag film producer
Swiss filmmaker Peter-Christian Fueter has won a Pardo d’onore at the Festival del Film Locarno, August 10, 2012. Swiss cinema lovers probably know Fueter from the Oscar-winning Film «Reise der Hoffnung» or one of his later successes, «Grounding» or «Mein Name ist Eugen» but less people will know that one of Fueters very early works was the Eawag/VGL-film: «Abfall – Schattenseiten des Überflusses» (Waste – the dark side of abundance), produced in 1969 and its short version for cinemas «Nur so weiter…» (Just carry on…). Idea and mandate for this piece came from Eawag-director Prof Otto Jaag who was in the same time president of the Union for Water and Air Conservation (VGL). [...]

6 August 2012

Swiss cities among those with highest cocaine consumption in European comparison study
Daily consumption of cocaine in Europe amounts to ca. 360 kilograms. This is the report of an international team of scientists, among them researchers from Eawag, the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology. Published in the current issue of the professional journal Science of the Total Environment is an investigation of sewage from ca. 15 million people in 19 European cities for various drugs. Comparable analyses in Switzerland show elevated cocaine use in comparison with other European cities. [...]

22 June 2012

Recognizing the Needs of the Aquatic Environment
The aquatic environment provides us with many valuable services, including a supply of drinking water and fish as well as various means of transportation and places of recreation. Attempts to provide these services with technological solutions would be futile or prohibitively expensive. This is why it is essential to recognize the needs of aquatic systems such as natural bodies of water and to preserve them by limiting their exploitation and protecting them from pollutants and the excessive nutrient inputs.
Around 250 scientists, water-management professionals, public administrators and politicians will be attending Eawag’s annual Info Day conference today, Friday the 22nd of June, to learn about the latest Eawag research results relating the subject «The aquatic environment – what it provides and what it needs». [...]

14 June 2012

A health check for European streams
In a unique field experiment, ten research groups from nine different countries have studied the ecological status of 100 streams across Europe. This was the first study to make extensive use of leaf-litter breakdown as an assessment method. The findings of the study - in which Eawag played a key role - are reported in the latest issue of Science. [...]

11 June 2012

For more effective water resources management
Janet G. Hering, director of Eawag and professor at EPFL and ETHZ, published together with Prof Karin Ingold (Eawag and University Bern) a commentary in the latest issue of Science. She calls for a more pragmatic approach to integrated water resource management. [...]

10 June 2012

Predicting the formation of new species
When animals or plants colonize new habitats, a number of new species may evolve from a single ancestor. But it is difficult to predict on the basis of environmental conditions or species-specific traits alone whether and to what extent diversification will occur. An Eawag study of African lake cichlids has now shown what combination of extrinsic factors and intrinsic traits leads to high rates of speciation, thus promoting biodiversity. [...]

25 May 2012

Eawag researcher has been appointed EPFL professor
At his meeting of 23rd/24th May 2012 the ETH Board has appointed Alfred (Johny) Wüest as full Professor of Aquatic Physics at Ecole Politechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL). At the same meeting the ETH Board Prof. Dr. Hansruedi Siegrist  was appointed as Member of Eawag Directorate at the request of the director of Eawag, Janet Hering. [...]

3 May 2012

Eawag Annual Report 2011
In the new Eawag Annual Report you can discover what lake sediments tell us about the floods of the last 12 000 years in the Alpine region, and how easy it is to obtain clean drinking water even in developing countries using a simple membrane filter. Or you can find out why Swiss tap water has so many bacteria, how wastewater treatment plants can produce fertilizer, and what cryptic species are. As usual, in addition to the facts and figures, the annual report yields up-to-date insights into the diverse research, teaching and consulting activities conducted by Eawag scientists.
Reproduction of texts contained in the Annual Report is permissible with citation of the source (Eawag – aquatic research: Annual Report 2011). [...]

25 April 2012

Micropollutants: Government set to specify financing for WWTP development
The Federal Council today opened the consultation process concerning an amendment to the Swiss Water Protection Act. The proposed amendment provides for a Switzerland-wide ‘polluter pays’ solution to finance the development of selected waste water treatment plants to combat rising levels of micro pollutants. Eawag has played a significant role in the development and evaluation of the concept as well in the drafting of measures designed to reduce the trace substances that come from medicines and chemicals. [...]

26 March 2012

Explaining biodiversity patterns in river networks
In a study published this week in the scientific Journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS), researchers from EPFL, Eawag and University of Princeton show that the specific river-like network structures of habitats create unique biodiversity patterns. The study is the first to experimentally link river-like network structure with characteristic distributions of species observed in real rivers. [...]

22 March 2012

UN Water Prize for SODIS
The United Nations “Water for Life Award” goes this year to the Fundación SODIS in Bolivia. The non-profit organisation, founded in 2001 by staff from Eawag and DEZA, disseminates simple and appropriate solutions with regard to water and waste water in Latin America. Over the past 11 years, Fundación SODIS has educated more than 1.2 million people in the method of solar water disinfection (SODIS), and has meantime expanded its work to other topics such as hygiene and sanitation solutions. The prize will be awarded today, 22 March, on the World Water Day, at a ceremony at the FAO in Rome. [...]

22 March 2012

Antibiotic resistance genes accumulating in Lake Geneva
Large quantities of antibiotic-resistant bacteria enter the environment via municipal – and especially hospital – wastewater streams. Although wastewater treatment plants reduce the total number of bacteria, the most hazardous – multiresistant – strains appear to withstand or even to be promoted by treatment processes. This was demonstrated by Eawag researchers in a study carried out in Lake Geneva, near Lausanne. [...]

16 February 2012

Loss of fish species caused by lake europhication
Within a relatively short period, eutrophication has led to a reduction of almost 40% in the number of endemic whitefish species in Swiss lakes. Only in deep perialpine lakes least exposed to high nutrient inputs – such as Lakes Thun, Brienz and Lucerne – has the original diversity of endemic species been able to survive. But even these species have become less genetically distinctive. These findings are reported in a study by Eawag and Bern University researchers, published in Nature today. [...]

1 February 2012

Recognition Award for Eawag and Kloten/Opfikon Water Treatment Plant
Working together with the Kloten/Opfikon water treatment plant, Eawag researchers have developed a means of producing fertilizer from wastewater, and thereby saving energy and raw materials. As one of three projects nominated for the Swiss Environmental Prize, this innovative project was honoured at the awards ceremony on Tuesday, January 17, 2012 with a special recognition award. The Environmental Prize went to Neurobat AG for its work in developing an intelligent HVAC controller. [...]

5 December 2011

Eawag News 71: Geographic information systems in environmental observation
Geographic information systems (GIS) are indispensible in environmental research and monitoring. They are an effective tool for presenting facts in a comprehensible manner and helpful for interdisciplinary exchange and communication with the public. Further topics: the potential of hydroelectric power in view of nuclear power phase-out, toads need more space and matured woods, the history of our climate as told by ice cores. [...]

1 December 2011

Tiny life forms thriving again in Lake Zurich
While elsewhere species extinction is proceeding at an ever-increasing rate, plankton biodiversity in Lake Zurich is apparently benefiting from rising temperatures and the successful measures against over-fertilization. Begun in the 1970s, this course of action may have a long-term positive effect on fish diversity, although it is too soon to tell. The new species are being watched closely by the water supply company, for some of them can produce harmful substances. [...]

24 November 2011

IWA Development Solutions Awards 2011 goes to Sandec
At the 2nd IWA Development Congress in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 21st November the inaugural IWA Development Solutions Award was given to the department Sandec of Eawag. The IWA Development Solutions Award is given to organisations in recognition of outstanding innovation or contribution to science and practice which has led to demonstrable uptake, impact or influence at national, regional or international levels in low and middle income countries. [...]

1 September 2011

The Swiss lakes: no longer black holes
An international research team under the leadership of Eawag, the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, and the Natural History Museum in Bern is quite literally getting to the bottom of the lakes in and around the Alps. The fish population is being documented scientifically in “Projet Lac” more systematically than ever before. Early investigations in the Murtensee have brought to light results that could not be ascertained from the fishery statistics in use up to now. [...]

19 July 2011

Developing a toilet with a built-in water recovery system
Reinventing the toilet – this is the ambitious goal being pursued by an interdisciplinary team led by Eawag. The end product of the project is to be a toilet which collects source separated urine and faeces for further treatment, while recycling used water on site. This project is now to receive around USD 400,000 in funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. [...]

21 June 2011

Healthy water resources - balancing the needs of humans and the environment
What does society want to do or what must it do to ensure clean water and maintain sound bodies of water? Aquatic research at Eawag in the fields of drinking water, wastewater and water ecology have been providing an important contribution for 75 years in order to find answers to these questions, backed up by scientific evidence - both in the water-rich Switzerland and globally. On Wednesday, 22 June 2011 Eawag will celebrate its 75th anniversary with an information day under the motto "Healthy water resources - balancing the needs of humans and the environment". [...]

31 May 2011

Submarine in Lake Geneva
Two Russian MIR submarines arrived in Le Bouveret on Lake Geneva today. An international team of scientists headed by ETH Lausanne will use these to get to the bottom of "Lac Léman" in the coming months in the truest sense of the word. Four of the projects are being directed by Eawag. Their focus is on the Rhone Delta. Giant cubes of sediment collected here over thousands of years and formed underwater canyons. [...]

8 April 2011

Anniversary brochure 75 years of Eawag
In six chapters, the brochure "The highlights of Eawag" provides an insight into water research in the past, the present and the future. Because it was always one of Eawag's strengths to learn from the past, be active in the present and plan for the future, as Directress Janet Hering writes in the editorial. You can scroll through the brochure (Flash version) in German, French or English or download it as a pdf file (6.5MB). Printed copies are also available free of charge at info@eawag.ch. [...]

31 March 2011

Award for climate friendly Eawag project
Zurich Insurance Companyhas awarded a special prize to the Eawag project "Nitrogen recycling with air stripping at the sewage treatment plant Kloten/Opfikon". The project, realised by the ARA Kloten/Opfikon and the team around Marc Böhler, financed by the "Amt für Abfall, Wasser, Energie und Luft (AWEL) " of the canton Zurich), received a special prize within the scope of the Zurich Climate Award ceremony. [...]

25 February 2011

What wasps can tell us about sex
Whether an individual parasitoid wasp reproduces sexually or asexually is determined by a single gene. This new finding, reported by an Evolutionary Ecology research group from Eawag, the ETH and Zurich University, could help to answer a central question of evolutionary biology – and could also be of interest for biological pest control. [...]

15 February 2011

New CAS in Integrated Water Resource Management
Together with the University of Applied Sciences in Bern and other universities and Non-Profit-Organisations Eawag offers a new CAS (Certificate of Advanced Studies) about “Integrated Water Resource Management” (IWRM). It is concerned with the process of promoting the coordinated development and management of water, land and related resources in order to maximize the resultant economic and social welfare in an equitable manner without compromising the sustainability of vital eco-systems. [...]

17 January 2011

Millions of Vietnamese using arsenic-tainted drinking water
Health-threatening levels of arsenic and other toxic elements may contaminate drinking water used by seven million inhabitants of Vietnam's Red River delta, according to a study. Researchers have known for more than a decade that groundwater in parts of Southeast Asia contains naturally occurring arsenic, at levels which exceed the World Health Organization's (WHO) safety standards. [...]

4 January 2011

Corals provide evidence of changes to oceanic currents through Global Warming
Examination of deep sea corals reveals that there have been drastic changes to oceanic currents in the western North Atlantic since the 1970s. The influence of the cold water Labrador Current, which is in periodic interchange with the warm Gulf Stream, has been decreasing continually since the 1970s. Occurring at the same time as Global Warming this phenomenon is unique in the past 2000 years. These results are reported by researchers from the University of Basel and Eawag in the current edition of the scientific journal «PNAS». [...]

22 November 2010

Two awards for Eawag scientists
Prizes for work by up-and-coming researchers have been awarded to not one but two young Eawag scientists. Last weekend Linda Roberts received the Otto Jaag Water Protection Prize for her dissertation on arsenic levels found in Bangladeshi paddy fields and Natacha Pasche was presented with the 2010 Hydrobiology- Limnology Award for her dissertation on nutrient cycling and methane production in Lake Kivu in Africa. [...]

14 October 2010

Urine as a Commercial Fertilizer?
The separate collection of urine provides innovative opportunities for the improvement of sanitation and the recycling of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Urine separation is an excellent sanitation solution, particularly in places where classic sewer-based sanitation is not sustainable. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is providing a grant of 3.0 million US dollars to support a joint project by the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag) and the eThekwini Water and Sanitation utility (EWS) in South Africa to continue developing practical, community-scale nutrient recovery systems. [...]

11 October 2010

Reservoirs: a neglected source of methane emissions
Substantial amounts of the greenhouse gas methane are released not only from large tropical reservoirs but also from run-of-the-river reservoirs in Switzerland, especially in the summer, when water temperatures are higher. This was demonstrated by Eawag scientists at Lake Wohlen, near Bern – a finding which slightly tarnishes the reputation of hydropower as a climate-neutral way of generating electricity. [...]

1 September 2010

New head of Ecotoxicology Centre
On 1 September Dr. Inge Werner took up her new position as Head of the Ecotox Centre at Eawag and EPFL. Inge Werner joins the Centre from the University of California in Davis, USA, where she spent the last 5 years heading the Aquatic Toxicology Laboratory (ATL) and teaching in her capacity as Adjunct Professor. The ATL is a government-certified laboratory studying water quality and the health of aquatic ecosystems across California. [...]

26 August 2010

International award for the joint project of Eawag and Wasserversorgung Zürich
An interdisciplinary team consisting of members of Eawag and «Wasserversorgung Zürich» (Zurich Water Company) won the Muelheim Water Award. The jury selected the Swiss project among 23 international applications because it presented a new, practical method for the evaluation of drinking water. [...]

28 July 2010

Reducing wastewater treatment costs and energy consumption
While Switzerland's wastewater treatment plants are of a high technical standard, the elimination of nutrients remains costly and energy-intensive. Eawag has now further developed a biological process which simplifies the removal of nitrogen from sludge digester liquid, reducing costs by 50% for this treatment step. [...]

22 June 2010

Decline of freshwater species
The decline of biodiversity represents a loss of natural capital for future generations. Freshwater ecosystems are particularly affected. So far, measures to protect genetic diversity in rivers and lakes have failed to halt the downward trend. What is widely underestimated, according to Eawag scientists, is the extent to which reduced habitat diversity also prevents species formation, thus accelerating the spiral of decline. [...]

15 June 2010

Eawag Researcher wins Dutch Zoology Prize
The Eawag researcher Martine Maan received the. Dutch Zoology Prize of the Royal Dutch Zoological Society (KNDV) last week. The prize has been awarded to Dr. Martine Maan "in acknowledgement of her high-quality research on speciation and sexual selection in Dendrobatidae and cichlids". The title of her scientific publication is "On the selective forces that drive the origin, maintenance and evolutionary consequences of animal color diversity". [...]

7 June 2010

Insights into Eawag research: 2009 Annual Report
The latest Eawag Annual Report, combining scientific and financial information, provides an up-to-date review of the wide range of activities initiated or completed at the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology in 2009. [...]

7 June 2010

Seven successful PhD students
In May 2010, seven PhD students, who have carried out most of their doctoral work at Eawag, received their PhD degree on the graduation party at the Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH). The scientific education of the students is based on the close collaboration of Eawag and ETH Zurich in research and education. [...]

20 May 2010

Two Eawag scientists appointed as professor at EPF Lausanne
At its meeting on 19 March 2010 the ETH Borad appointed two scientists from Eawag as full professor resp. as adjunct professor at EPF Lausanne. Dr. Janet Hering, Director of Eawag and a full professor at ETH Zurich, was appointed as full professor of environmental chemistry at the school of architecture, civil and environmental engineering at EPF Lausanne. And Dr. Kristin Schirmer, Head of the Department of Environmental Toxicology at Eawag, will be adjunct professor at EPFL. [...]

17 May 2010

Eawag researcher Eberhard Morgenroth has given his inaugural lecture at ETH Zurich
Eawag researcher Eberhard Morgenroth, the appointed successor to Willi Gujer for the ETH chair of Urban Water Management, has given his inaugural lecture at ETH Zurich. The video of the lecture can be found here. In the following interview he explains why he decided to accept this position, what he likes about Eawag and why he would have liked to meet the former director of Eawag Werner Stumm. [...]

3rd April 2010

'Self' container destroyed by fire
Shortly after 2.15pm on Good Friday, 2nd April, the Self container for autonomous living and working burned to the ground. The self-contained unit, which is completely independent of mains water and energy services, is a joint project of Empa, Eawag, the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK) and the University of Applied Sciences of Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW). The unit was located on an area of open grassland adjacent to the Museum for Design in Zurich's District 5. The fire services succeeded in extinguishing the flames but could not save the building. [...]

26 January 2010

Measuring rainfall with mobile phone antennas
As rain interferes with radio signals, Eawag researchers have been able to measure rainfall using data supplied by the mobile telecommunications company Orange. The new method offers greater spatial resolution than traditional point measurements provided by rain gauges. In the future, this could be combined with intelligent control systems for sewer networks so as to reduce water pollution in urban areas. [...]

14 January 2010

Drinking roof water and showering with sewage water
"self" is an energy and water independent cell for living and working. The joint project of Empa, Eawag and the Zurich University of Arts will be presented to the public for the first time at the Swissbau in Basel from January 12 to 16, 2010. [...]

14 January 2010

Watt d'Or energy award for Eawag
Energy savings can be achieved through sustainable management of water supplies: this has been demonstrated by the commune of Gordola in Canton Ticino, the winner of the Swiss Federal Office of Energy’s prestigious Watt d’Or award in the “Society” category for 2010. Among those who contributed to this success is Eawag, which was involved in a number of research and consulting projects supporting the commune’s efforts to implement a modern, sustainable water supply system. [...]

22 December 2009

Toxic arsenic removed from fields by monsoon floodwaters
As a result of irrigation with arsenic-rich groundwater, this toxic substance can accumulate in paddy soils and – at high concentrations – may ultimately find its way into rice plants. In a study published in Nature Geoscience, researchers from Eawag and the ETH Zurich collaborating with scientists from Bangladesh have shown that a certain amount of arsenic is released from soils into floodwaters during the monsoon season. [...]

11 December 2009

New Board Member with research focus on aquatic evolutionary biology
At the request of Prof. Dr. Janet Hering, the Director of the Water Research Institute Eawag and Member of the ETH Board, the ETH Board has appointed Prof. Dr. Jukka Jokela as a Member of the Board as of January 1, 2010. [...]

19 November 2009

World Toilet Day: Creating Value from Urine
To commemorate the international World Toilet Day 2009, Eawag is highlighting an innovative research project from Nepal which combines improved sanitation with increased food security. The STUN project, funded through Eawag’s discretionary funds in 2008/9, investigated the feasibility of collecting urine to produce a phosphorus-based fertilizer called struvite. [...]

17 November 2009

Membrane technology as a key water treatment process
Membrane technology is playing an increasingly important role in drinking water treatment. The latest developments in this area were discussed by experts from Switzerland and abroad at a conference held on 16 November 2009 in Dübendorf, jointly organized by the Swiss Gas and Water Industry Association (SVGW) and the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag). [...]

5 October 2009

Secrets of the lake floor of Lake Maggiore
Topographical surveys of Swiss lake floors have never been performed in such detail before. With the aid of a sophisticated sonar system, the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology Eawag can produce three-dimensional images which show channels and other structures at the bottom of Lake Maggiore with centimetre-scale accuracy. [...]

1 October 2009

Swiss strategy against micropollutants
Last Thursday, the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) presented its synthesis report on the MicroPoll project, in which Eawag played a major role, to the media. The conclusion drawn by the chief Swiss environmental authority in the report is that retrofitting 100 wastewater treatment plants is the most effective way of preventing contamination from micropollutants in urban drainage systems. Complementary to this, measures are also needed to reduce contamination at the source. [...]

29 September 2009

Arsenic in the water - Eawag - The Bright Star in the Research Sky
Science Watch generates "star maps" of a different kind. The science monitoring agency of Thomson-Reuters detects networking patterns by analysing publications and the frequency of their citation. This analysis shows the trend-setting articles in the respective field of research and their interconnection. In April 2009, Science Watch concentrated on the issue "Arsenic Water Pollution". Not very surprising: among the 24 "core papers" (of the period 2003-2008), no less than five were written at Eawag or with the participation of Eawag researchers. [...]

25 September 2009

Researchers' Night 2009 in Zurich
Researchers' nights traditionally take place all over Europe on the fourth Friday of September. On September 25th 2009, the downtown area around «Bürkliplatz» will become an exciting science market (5 pm – midnight). Eawag and the Ecotox Centre will have 5 presentations. Juliane Hollender will speak on board of a Zurich lake boat (science talks). Numerous dynamic and engaging formats – science market, science show, competitions, science bars, special program for children and teenagers guarantee an exciting evening. [...]

25 August 2009

Drinking Water in the 21st Century
In the cross-cutting project Wave21, Eawag carried out research on future methods of drinking water treatment with a variety of private-sector and water utility partners. The Final Report – “Wave21: Drinking Water in the 21st Century” – has now been published. The integrated project focused on supplies sourced from surface waters, and in particular on the relationship between raw water parameters and individual treatment steps. [...]

19 August 2009

Solar Water Disinfection put to test
A recent study [1] of Solar Water Disinfection (SODIS) has attracted substantial media attention for its negative findings on the SODIS process, in which water is disinfected by placing it in PET bottles and exposing it to sunlight. The investigators reported that the incidence of diarrheal diseases was not significantly decreased in an intervention group as compared with a control group. The authors of the study suggest to "hold off" on new promotion campaigns for the method. This would be wrong. [...]

31 July 2009

Sex to keep parasites at bay
One of the most fascinating questions in biology is why large parts of the animal and plant kingdom go to the trouble of reproducing sexually. A study led by Eawag has now shown that, in the long run, sexual reproduction offers advantages in protecting populations against parasites. [...]

23 June 2009

Micropollutants in water resources: prevention - assessment - removal
Sooner or later, chemicals – and increasingly also nanoparticles – from textiles, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics or construction materials inevitably end up in natural waters. Here, they may pose risks for animals and plants, or even for drinking water safety and human health. Eawag has shown that precautionary measures should involve more than general water quality standards, as the effects of contaminants need to be assessed in a highly specific way. Particular emphasis is to be placed on preventing inputs to receiving waters: in many places, for example, pollution is decreased by the expansion of stormwater retention facilities, and – thanks to cooperation between researchers and industry – changes in the production and use of bitumen sheets mean that the leaching of biocides can be dramatically reduced. [...]

2 June 2009

Insights into Eawag research: 2008 Annual Report
The latest Eawag Annual Report, combining scientific and financial/operational information, provides an up-to-date review of the wide range of activities initiated or completed at the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology in 2008. [...]

10 March 2009

Vietnamese medals awarded to Eawag scientists
Four Eawag scientists today received official medals from the Vietnamese government for their achievements in the areas of drinking water quality and sanitation. The medals were awarded in recognition of “outstanding contributions to education and training in Vietnam”. With financial support from the Swiss government, the scientists succeeded in strengthening capacity at two research centres in Northern Vietnam and improving the quality of local water supplies and wastewater management. [...]

10 March 2009

Jurassic Park from a Swiss lake?
Ecological changes caused by humans affect natural biodiversity. For example, the eutrophication of Greifensee and Lake Constance in the 1970s and 1980s led to genetic changes in a species of water flea which was ultimately displaced. Despite the fact that water quality has since been significantly improved, this species has not been re-established. This was demonstrated by researchers from Eawag and from two German universities (Frankfurt and Konstanz), who analysed genetic material from Daphnia eggs up to 100 years old. [...]

23 January 2009

Eawag Forum Chriesbach: reaping the rewards of sustainable construction
A five-storey office and research building for 220 people that requires scarcely more energy from external sources for heating and cooling than one or two single-family houses? Eawag’s Forum Chriesbach fits this description. At a meeting held today, two years after the building was opened, the architects, planners and clients concluded that the results, in terms of energy use and costs, have been positive. The internationally renowned Forum Chriesbach is already regarded as a model for a new generation of buildings, even though there is still room for optimization. [...]

8 January 2009

New results from climate research using ice cores
A 139m long ice core drilled in the Siberian Altai has now provided new findings in climate research. Oxygen isotopes in the ice were used to reconstruct the temperatures in the Altai over the past 750 years. The scientists discovered a strong link between regional temperatures and the solar activity in the period 1250-1850, concluding that the sun was an important driver of preindustrial temperature changes in the Altai. [...]



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