Die Siedlungswasserwirtschaft als System verstehen und in eine nachhaltige Zukunft zu führen charakterisiert die Forschung unserer Abteilung. Neben den traditionellen Fragestellungen zur Siedlungshygiene und zum Gewässerschutz stehen die nachhaltige Nutzung und Bewirtschaftung der Ressourcen im Vordergrund.
Neue, modulare Technologien im Wassersektor können dazu beitragen, die Siedlungswasserwirtschaft flexibel und zukunftsfähig zu entwickeln und die Ressource Wasser nachhaltig zu nutzen. Welche Chancen und Risiken damit verbunden...
Neue, modulare Technologien im Wassersektor können dazu beitragen, die Siedlungswasserwirtschaft flexibel und zukunftsfähig zu entwickeln und die Ressource Wasser nachhaltig zu nutzen. Welche Chancen und Risiken damit verbunden sind, zeigt ein Team von Forschenden des Wasserforschungsinstituts Eawag in einem kürzlich erschienenen Artikel in der Zeitschrift Aqua & Gas.
Die beiden Eawag Forscher Wenzel Gruber und Urs Schönenberger gewinnen für ihre Dissertationen den diesjährigen Otto-Jaag-Gewässerschutzpreis. Die Emissionen des klimaschädlichen Lachgases aus Kläranlagen reduzieren und die...
Die beiden Eawag Forscher Wenzel Gruber und Urs Schönenberger gewinnen für ihre Dissertationen den diesjährigen Otto-Jaag-Gewässerschutzpreis. Die Emissionen des klimaschädlichen Lachgases aus Kläranlagen reduzieren und die Einschwemmung von Pestiziden aus Drainagesystemen verringern, sind die Themen.
Inferring transmission fitness advantage of SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern from wastewater samples using digital PCR, Switzerland, December 2020 through March 2021
BackgroundThroughout the COVID-19 pandemic, SARS-CoV-2 genetic variants of concern (VOCs) have repeatedly and independently arisen. VOCs are characterised by increased transmissibility, increased virulence or reduced neutralisation by antibodies obtained from prior infection or vaccination. Tracking the introduction and transmission of VOCs relies on sequencing, typically whole genome sequencing of clinical samples. Wastewater surveillance is increasingly used to track the introduction and spread of SARS-CoV-2 variants through sequencing approaches.AimHere, we adapt and apply a rapid, high-throughput method for detection and quantification of the relative frequency of two deletions characteristic of the Alpha, Beta, and Gamma VOCs in wastewater.MethodsWe developed drop-off RT-dPCR assays and an associated statistical approach implemented in the R package WWdPCR to analyse temporal dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 signature mutations (spike Δ69-70 and ORF1a Δ3675-3677) in wastewater and quantify transmission fitness advantage of the Alpha VOC.ResultsBased on analysis of Zurich wastewater samples, the estimated transmission fitness advantage of SARS-CoV-2 Alpha based on the spike Δ69-70 was 0.34 (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.30-0.39) and based on ORF1a Δ3675-3677 was 0.53 (95% CI: 0.49-0.57), aligning with the transmission fitness advantage of Alpha estimated by clinical sample sequencing in the surrounding canton of 0.49 (95% CI: 0.38-0.61).ConclusionDigital PCR assays targeting signature mutations in wastewater offer near real-time monitoring of SARS-CoV-2 VOCs and potentially earlier detection and inference on transmission fitness advantage than clinical sequencing.
Caduff, L.; Dreifuss, D.; Schindler, T.; Devaux, A. J.; Ganesanandamoorthy, P.; Kull, A.; Stachler, E.; Fernandez-Cassi, X.; Beerenwinkel, N.; Kohn, T.; Ort, C.; Julian, T. R. (2022) Inferring transmission fitness advantage of SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern from wastewater samples using digital PCR, Switzerland, December 2020 through March 2021, Eurosurveillance: bulletin européen sur les maladies transmissibles, 27(10), 2100806 (20 pp.), doi:10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2022.27.10.2100806, Institutional Repository
Reconciling cities with nature: Identifying local Blue-Green Infrastructure interventions for regional biodiversity enhancement
Increasing urbanization degrades quantity, quality, and the functionality of spatial cohesion of natural areas essential to biodiversity and ecosystem functioning worldwide. The uncontrolled pace of building activity and the erosion of blue (i.e., aquatic) and green (i.e., terrestrial) landscape elements threaten existing habitat ranges and movability of wildlife. Local scale measures, such as nature-inspired engineered Blue-Green Infrastructure (BGI) are emerging mitigation solutions. Originally planned to promote sustainable stormwater management, adaptation to climate change and improved human livability in cities, such instruments offer interesting synergies for biodiversity in support of existing ecological infrastructure. BGI are especially appealing for globally declining amphibians, a rich and diverse vertebrate assemblage sensitive to urbanization. We integrated biological and highly resolved urban-rural land-cover data, ensemble models of habitat suitability, and connectivity models based on circuit theory to improve multi-scale and multi-species protection of core habitats and ecological corridors in the Swiss lowlands. Considering a broad spectrum of amphibian biodiversity, we identified distributions of amphibian biodiversity hotspots and four landscape elements essential to amphibian movability at the regional scale, namely i) forest edges, ii) wet-forest habitats, iii) soils with variable moisture and iv) riparian zones. Our work shows that cities can make a substantial contribution (e.g., up to 15% of urban space in the study area) to wider landscape habitat connectivity. We highlight the importance of planning BGI locally in strategic locations across urban and peri-urban areas to promote the permeability and availability of ‘stepping stone’ habitats in densely populated landscapes, essential to the maintenance of regional habitat connectivity and thereby enhancing biodiversity and ecosystem functioning.
Donati, G. F. A.; Bolliger, J.; Psomas, A.; Maurer, M.; Bach, P. M. (2022) Reconciling cities with nature: Identifying local Blue-Green Infrastructure interventions for regional biodiversity enhancement, Journal of Environmental Management, 316, 115254 (14 pp.), doi:10.1016/j.jenvman.2022.115254, Institutional Repository
A simplified sanitary sewer system generator for exploratory modelling at city-scale
Future climatic, demographic, technological, urban and socio-economic challenges call for more flexible and sustainable wastewater infrastructure systems. Exploratory modelling can help to investigate the consequences of these developments on the infrastructure. In order to explore large numbers of adaptation strategies, we need to re-balance the degree of realism of sewer network and ability to reflect key performance characteristics against the model's parsimony and computational efficiency. We present a spatially explicit algorithm for creating sanitary sewer networks that realistically represent key characteristics of a real system. Basic topographic, demographic and urban characteristics are abstracted into a squared grid of 'Blocks' which are the foundation for the sewer network's topology delineation. We compare three different pipe dimensioning approaches and found a good balance between detail and computational efficiency. With a basic hydraulic performance assessment, we demonstrate that we attain a computationally efficient and high-fidelity wastewater sewer network with adequate hydraulic performance. A spatial resolution of 250 m Block size in combination with a sequential Pipe-by-Pipe (PBP) design algorithm provides a sound trade-off between computational time and fidelity of relevant structural and hydraulic properties for exploratory modelling. We can generate a simplified sewer network (both topology and hydraulic design) in 18 s using PBP, versus 36 min using a highly detailed model or 1 s using a highly abstract model. Moreover, this simplification can cut up to 1/10th to 1/50th the computational time for the hydraulic simulations depending on the routing method implemented. We anticipate our model to be a starting point for sophisticated exploratory modelling into possible infrastructure adaptation measures of topological and loading changes of sewer systems for long-term planning.
Performance and dynamics of active greywater heat recovery in buildings
In the effort to de-carbonize the building stock, heat pumps are increasingly utilized in Switzerland, with 70% of the fast-growing heat pump market using ambient air as heat source. Inexpensive and easy to implement, these heat pumps are, however, less efficient than their ground- or water-source counterparts. In this modeling study, we aim at increasing the efficiency of air-source heat pumps using domestic greywater-contained heat. We assess the performance improvement relative to standard heat pump configurations across various climates, seasons, building envelopes, and domestic hot water consumption patterns. The results show that the annually-averaged coefficient of performance improves by 4.1% on average - ranging from 0.6% to 7.5%. This efficiency gain translates on average to 1.8 kWh/week of compressor electricity savings. Although attractive due to its simplicity, the proposed open-loop configuration - preheating of an external heat source - only leads to moderate performance improvement of air-source heat pumps. Based on these results, we extensively discuss and compare alternative system configurations and identify several fundamental differences in the heat recovery dynamics of each configuration. We show that closed-loop systems - using greywater as direct heat source - show the largest performance improvement potential, although being more expensive and complex to implement.