Unsere Forschungsgruppen beschäftigen sich aus der ingenieurtechnischen Perspektive mit Problemen der Abwasserreinigung und Trinkwasseraufbereitung sowie dem Schutz der Wasserressourcen. Unser langfristiges Ziel ist es, nachhaltige Konzepte für Wasser- und Nährstoffkreisläufe in Siedlungen zu entwickeln.
Im Water Hub erforschen unsere Wissenschaftlerinnen und Wissenschaftler eine nachhaltige und dezentrale Abwasserbehandlung. Abwasser wird hier nicht als Abfall, sondern als Ressource betrachtet. Nun kann die Forschungsplattform im NEST jederzeit virtuell besichtigt werden.
Eine mobile Handwaschstation, die ohne Frischwasserzufuhr oder Anschluss an die Kanalisation Wasser hygienisch rezykliert ist nicht nur in strukturschwachen Ländern interessant. Die Wasserwand hat auch im öffentlichen Verkehr oder bei Veranstaltungen viel Potenzial.
Occurrence and transport of microplastics sampled within and above the planetary boundary layer
Nowadays, there is no direct evidence about the presence of microplastics (MPs) in the atmosphere above ground level. Here, we investigated the occurrence, chemical composition, shape, and size of MPs in aircraft sampling campaigns flying within and above the planetary boundary layer (PBL). The results showed that MPs were present with concentrations ranging from 1.5 MPs m−3 above rural areas to 13.9 MPs m−3 above urban areas. MPs represented up to almost one third of the total amount of microparticles collected. Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy allowed identifying seven types of MPs with the highest diversity corresponding to urban areas. Atmospheric transport and deposition simulations were performed using the HYbrid Single-Particle Lagrangian Integrated Trajectory (HYSPLIT) model. Air mass trajectory analyses showed that MPs could be transported more than 1000 km before being deposited. This pioneer study is the first evidence of the microplastic presence above PBL and their potential long-range transport from their point of release even crossing distant borders.
González-Pleiter, M.; Edo, C.; Aguilera, Á.; Viúdez-Moreiras, D.; Pulido-Reyes, G.; González-Toril, E.; Osuna, S.; de Diego-Castilla, G.; Leganés, F.; Fernández-Piñas, F.; Rosal, R. (2021) Occurrence and transport of microplastics sampled within and above the planetary boundary layer, Science of the Total Environment, 761, 143213 (11 pp.), doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.143213, Institutional Repository
Quantification of individual Rare Earth Elements from industrial sources in sewage sludge
Rare Earth Elements (REEs) are used in increasing amounts in technical applications and consumer products. However, to date, the contribution of industrial sources to the loads of individual REEs in wastewater streams have not been quantified. Here, we determine the REE contents in sludge collected from 63 wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) across Switzerland. To quantify the industrial fraction of individual REEs in the sewage sludge, we develop two complementary approaches, based on REE ratios and REE pattern fitting. Unspecific (background) inputs, with REE patterns similar to the averaged REE pattern of soils collected across Switzerland, dominate the REE budget of most WWTPs. A few WWTPs receive significant REE inputs from specific industrial sources. Based on population equivalents of Switzerland, we estimate a total annual load of 4200 kg Cerium (Ce, 0.5 g Ce year-1 capita-1), with an industrial contribution of 2000 kg year-1. The latter agrees with estimates of probabilistic mass flow models for engineered nanoscale CeO2 particles discharged to the sewer network. About 7 kg year-1 of Samarium (Sm,total for Switzerland: 184 kg year-1 or 0.02 g Sm year-1 capita-1) and 3 kg year-1 of Europium (Eu,total for Switzerland: 44 kg year-1 or 0.005 g Eu year-1 capita-1) are assigned to industrial inputs from single WWTPs. Gadolinium (Gd) is used in the form of a stable complex as contrast agent in magnetic resonance imaging. Assuming 10% removal of Gd during wastewater treatment, we calculate an annual discharge of 90 kg of Gd from one individual WWTP to surface waters. WWTPs with exceptionally high industrial inputs of specific REEs warrant detailed investigations to identify the respective sources and to assess whether REE concentrations in effluents are elevated to the same degree.
Kaegi, R.; Gogos, A.; Voegelin, A.; Hug, S. J.; Winkel, L. H. E.; Buser, A. M.; Berg, M. (2021) Quantification of individual Rare Earth Elements from industrial sources in sewage sludge, Water Research X, 11, 100092 (11 pp.), doi:10.1016/j.wroa.2021.100092, Institutional Repository
Testing the bioaccumulation potential of manufactured nanomaterials in the freshwater amphipod Hyalella azteca
Standardized experimental approaches for the quantification of the bioaccumulation potential of nanomaterials in general and in (benthic) invertebrates in particular are currently lacking. We examined the suitability of the benthic freshwater amphipod Hyalella azteca for the examination of the bioaccumulation potential of nanomaterials. A flow-through test system that allows the generation of bioconcentration and biomagnification factors was applied. The feasibility of the system was confirmed in a 2-lab comparison study. By carrying out bioconcentration and biomagnification studies with gold, titanium dioxide and silver nanoparticles as well as dissolved silver (AgNO3) we were able to assess the bioaccumulation potential of different types of nanomaterials and their exposure pathways. For this, the animals were examined for their total metal body burden using inductively coupled mass spectroscopy (ICP-MS) and for the presence of nanoparticulate burdens using single-particle ICP-MS. The role of released ions was highlighted as being very important for the bioavailability and bioaccumulation of metals from nanoparticles for both examined uptake paths examined (bioconcentration and biomagnification). In 2018 a tiered testing strategy for engineered nanomaterials was proposed by Handy et al. that may allow a waiver of bioaccumulation fish studies using inter alia invertebrates. Data gained in studies carried out with invertebrates like the developed Hyalella azteca test may be included in this proposed tiered testing strategy.
Temperature modulates stress response in mainstream anammox reactors
Autotrophic nitrogen removal by anaerobic ammonium oxidizing (anammox) bacteria is an energy-efficient nitrogen removal process in wastewater treatment. However, full-scale deployment under mainstream conditions remains challenging for practitioners due to the high stress susceptibility of anammox bacteria towards fluctuations in dissolved oxygen (DO) and temperature. Here, we investigated the response of microbial biofilms with verified anammox activity to DO shocks under 20 °C and 14 °C. While pulse disturbances of 0.3 mg L−1 DO prompted only moderate declines in the NH4+ removal rates, 1.0 mg L−1 DO led to complete but reversible inhibition of the NH4+ removal activity in all reactors. Genome-centric metagenomics and metatranscriptomics were used to investigate the stress response on various biological levels. We show that temperature regime and strength of DO perturbations induced divergent responses from the process level down to the transcriptional profile of individual taxa. Community-wide gene expression differed significantly depending on the temperature regime in all reactors, and we found a noticeable impact of DO disturbances on genes involved in transcription, translation, replication and posttranslational modification at 20 °C but not 14 °C. Genome-centric analysis revealed that different anammox species and other key biofilm taxa differed in their transcriptional responses to distinct temperature regimes and DO disturbances.