Urs Von Gunten

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About Me

PhD Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zürich, Switzerland, 1989.
Diploma Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zürich, Department of Chemistry, Switzerland, 1983

Major Research Areas

  • Drinking water quality
  • Water treatment
  • Chemical oxidation processes in drinking water treatment: kinetics and mechanisms of formation of disinfection by-products and degradation of micropollutants
  • Characterization of oxidation treatment processes
  • Advanced oxidation processes
  • Biogeochemical processes in groundwater-infiltration systems: experimental and modeling work
  • In situ and out-of-ground treatment of reduced groundwater

Former Professional Activities

  • 2014 Co-Organizer of Eawag Infotag "Wasserversorgung und Uferfiltration - ein System unter Druck?", Dübendorf, September 9.
  • 2014 Co-Organizer of symposium "Advanced oxidation processes for water treatment", 5th EuCheMS Chemistry Congress 2014, Aug. 31 - Sept. 4, Istanbul, Turkey.
  • 2013 Co-Organizer of PEAK seminar on "Oxidation and Disinfection Processes", Aug. 30, Dübendorf.
  • 2013 Co-Organizer of the Micropol & Ecohazard Conference, Zürich, June 17-19.
  • 2013 Co-Organizer of the session "Advanced Oxidation - Technologies and Applications", Leading Edge Technology Conference, Bordeaux, June 2-6.
  • 2011 Co-Organizer of Korean-Swiss Science Days in Zürich “Water for the Future”, ETHZ, November 9-10.
  • 2010 Co-Organizer of an international symposium “Oxidation processes in natural and technical aquatic systems” in honour of Jürg Hoigné’s 80 birthday, Eawag, May 21, 2010.
  • 2010 Co-Organizer of 23. Mülheimer Wassertechnisches Seminar “Möglichkeiten und Grenzen von oxidativen Prozessen in der Wasserreinhaltung”, March 11, 2010, IWW, Mülheim an der Ruhr
  • 2008 Co-Organizer of the Eawag Infotag 2008 “Vom Gewässer ins Glas”, Sept. 12, 2008, Eawag, Dübendorf
  • 2008 Organizing committee of Leading Edge Technology Conference (LET), Zürich, June 1-4, 2008.
  • 2008 Co-organizer of Sino-Swiss workshop “Water Resources Management and Drinking Water Quality”, Harbin Institute of Technology, Harbin, China, January
  • 2007 Organizer of Wave21 seminar on “New insights in the field of drinking water treatment”, Dübendorf, Sept. 14, 2007.
  • 2007 Co-organizer of a symposium entitled “Sustainability in Water Supply: Advances in Oxidation Processes for Water Treatment” at ACS Spring conference, Chicago, March 25-29, 2007.
  • 2006 Organizer of Wave21 seminar on “New developments of analytical methods for drinking water analysis”, Dübendorf, Sept. 15, 2006.
  • 2005 Organizer of Wave21 seminar on “New applications of ozone in water treatment”, Sept. 23, 2005, Dübendorf
  • 1999 Co-organizer of 200th Anniversary Symposium in honor of Ch. F. Schönbein - the discoverer of ozone, October 1999, Basel.
  • 1995 Organizer of a symposium in honor of J. Hoigné, June, 1995, Dübendorf, Switzerland
  • 1991 Co-organizer of the workshop "Chemodynamics of Groundwaters", November, 1991, Mont Sainte-Odile, France

Academic Honors

  • 2015 Recipient of the Harvey Rosen Award 2015 of the International Ozone Association
  • 2015 Professorship under the Chinese Academy of Sciences President's International Fellowship Initiative for Distinguished Scientists
  • 2014 Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researcher
  • 2013 Distinguished Lecturer for AEESP at the American Water Works Association Annual Conference, Denver, June 10.
  • 2012 Adjunct Professor at the Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology, Gwangju, Korea.
  • 2011 Full Professor at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Lausanne.
  • 2010 Adjunct Professor at the State Key Laboratory of Environmental Aquatic Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • 2010 Adjunct Professor at the Curtin University of Technology, Perth, Australia
  • 2007 Honorary Professorship at the Harbin Institute of Technology, Harbin, China, 2007
  • 2007 Recipient of the Harvey Rosen Award 2007 of the International Ozone Association
  • 2007 Environmental Science and Technology Excellence in Review Award, 2007
  • 2006 Professor title at ETHZ, Department of Environmental Sciences, July 2006
  • 2002 Habilitation thesis at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETHZ) 2002
  • 2001 Recipient of the Harvey Rosen Award 2001 of the International Ozone Association
  • 1999 Recipient of the Marteen Schalekamp Award 1999 of the IWSA
  • 1993 Recipient of a short-term fellowship of the Swiss National Science Foundation in 1993 and 1994
  • 1993 EERO short-term fellowship-holder in 1993

Commissions/Editorial Boards

  • Member of the main commission for water treatment (HK-WVS) of the Swiss Gas and Water Federation (SVGW).
  • Former member of commission “Planung Wasserversorgung” of the Swiss Gas and Water Federation (SVGW).
  • Guest “Technical Committee Water Treatment” of the German Water and Gas Federation (DVGW)
  • Member Advisory Board of the “Curtin Water Quality Research Centre”, Curtin University, Perth, Australia.
  • Associate Editor “Environmental Science and Technology”, 2010/11
  • Guest Editor “Water Research” for special issue on “Emerging Contaminants”, 2010
  • Guest Editor „Journal of water supply: Research and Technology-Aqua“ for a special issue on “Oxidation Processes”, 2008.
  • Member of the editorial board of the journal ”Ozone: Science and Engineering”.
  • Member of the editorial board of „Journal of water supply: Research and Technology-Aqua“.


  • 1998 K. Stemmler, Kinetics and mechanism of the hydroxyl radical initiated oxidation of oxygenated volatile organic compounds under simulated tropospheric conditions. Diss. ETH 12918, 1998.
  • 2000 Y. Bichsel, Behavior of iodine species in oxidative processes during drinking water treatment. Diss. ETH 13429, 2000.
  • 2002 S. Mettler, In situ iron removal from ground water: Fe(II) oxygenation and precipitation products in a calcareous aquifer, Diss. ETH 14724, 2002.
  • 2004 M. M. Huber, Elimination of pharmaceuticals during oxidative treatment of drinking water and wastewater: application of ozone and chlorine dioxide. Diss. ETH No. 15768, 2004.
  • 2005 M.-O. Buffle, Mechanistic investigation of the initial phase of ozone decomposition in drinking water and wastewater: Impact on the oxidation of emerging contaminants, disinfection and by-product formation. Diss. ETH No. 16266, 2005. Recipient of Willy Masschelein Award for best thesis of the International Ozone Association, 2007.
  • 2008 A. Peter, Taste and odor in drinking water: sources and mitigation strategies. Diss. ETH 17761, 2008. Recipient of Otto Jaag Gewässerschutz-Preis, 2008.
  • 2008 M. C. Dodd, Characterization of ozone-based oxidative treatment as a means of eliminating the target-specific biological activities of municipal wastewater-borne antibacterial compounds. Diss. ETH No. 17934, 2008. Recipient of the CH2M-Hill/AEESP Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award, 2009; recipient of GDCh Young Scientist Award, 2009; recipient of ETH silver medal.
  • 2010 M. K. Ramseier, Assimilable organic carbon formation and disinfection during oxidative drinking water treatment. Diss. ETH No. 19157, 2010.
  • 2011 S. G. Zimmermann, Enhanced wastewater treatment by ozone and ferrate: Kinetics, transformation products and full-scale ozonation. Diss. ETH No. 19615, 2011. Recipient of Otto Jaag Gewässerschutz-Preis, 2011.
  • 2012 J. Wenk, The role of dissolved organic matter in aquatic oxidation processes. Diss. ETH No. 20503, 2012.
  • 2014 M. Rudolf von Rohr, Redox processes during riverbank filtration under climate change scenarios: column studies. Diss. ETH No 22047, 2014.
  • 2014 S. Bahnmüller, Photochemical transformation processes of micropollutants in surface waters and wastewaters, Diss. ETH No 22280, 2014.
  • 2015 F. Soltermann, Chloramines in swimming pools: Occurrence, formation pathways and mitigation strategies, Diss. ETH No 22497, 2015.

Dissertations(external examiner)

  • 1996 B. K. D. Koudjonou, Etude des conditions de formation des ions bromate lors de l'ozonation des eaux contenant des ions bromures. Poitiers, Mai, 1996
  • 1997 M. Gleichauf, Chemisch-biologische Behandlung von Abwässern mit schwerabbaubaren Inhaltsstoffen. Diss. ETH Nr. 12190, 1997.
  • 1998 H. Gallard, Modélisation cinétique de la décomposition de H2O2 et de composés organiques en milieu aqueux par les procédés d’oxydation H2O2/Fe(II) et H2O2/Fe(III). Poitiers, Sept. 1998
  • 1999 N. Schweigert, Modes of Action and Toxicity of (Chloro-)Catechol(Copper Combinations. Diss. ETH 13353, 1999.
  • 2000 D. Carini, Treatment of Industrial Wastewater using Chemical-Biological Sequencing Batch Biofilm Reactor (SBBR) Processes. Diss. ETH 13431, 2000.
  • 2002 A. Heitz, Malodorous dimethylpolysulfides in Perth drinking water. Diss. Curtin University of Technology, Perth, Australia, 2002.
  • 2002 J. Kim, Integrated optimization of cryptosporidium inactivation and bromate formation control in ozone contactors. Diss. University of Illinios at Urbana-Champaign, 2002.
  • 2002 C. Jarusutthirak, Fouling and flux decline of reverse osmosis (RO), nanofiltration (NF), and ultrafiltration (UF) membranes associated with effluent organic matter during waste water reclamation/reuse. Diss. Colorado University at Boulder, 2002.
  • 2002 N-G. Her, Identification and characterization of foulants and scalants on NF membranes. Diss. Colorado University at Boulder, 2002.
  • 2004 S. M. Dow, Non-classical inactivation response of spores and emerging pathogens to chemical disinfection under different water quality conditions. Diss. University of Colorado at Boulder, 2004.
  • 2005 J. Schumacher, Ozonung zur weitergehenden Aufbereitung kommunaler Abläufe. Diss. TU Berlin, 2005.
  • 2005 Y. Lee, Oxidative removal of arsenic and phenolic pollutants in water by ferrate (Fe(VI). Diss. Seoul National University, 2005.
  • 2006 M. Deborde, Oxydation par le chlore et l’ozone de composés organiques à effets modulateurs endocriniens. Diss. Université de Poitiers, Janvier 2006.
  • 2006 M. Neumann, Uncertainty analysis for performance evaluation and design of urban water infrastructure. Diss. ETH 16975, 2006.
  • 2007 C. Lee, Effective control of N-Nitrosodimethylamine in water using direct UV photolysis and oxidation technologies, Diss. Seoul National University, 2007.
  • 2007 J. Blythe, The Chemistry of bromophenol taste in drinking water. Diss. Curtin University of Technology, Perth, 2007.
  • 2007 A. van der Helm, Integrated modeling and optimization for operation of drinking water treatment plants, Technical University Delft, Delft, 2007.
  • 2008 R. Johnston, Chemical interactions between iron and arsenic in water, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 2008.
  • 2008 S. Allard, Formation de composés organiques iodés catalysée par les oxydes de manganèse, Université de Poitiers, Poitiers, 2008
  • 2009 N. Cimetière, Etude de la décomposition de la monochloramine en milieu aqueux et réactivité avec des composés phénoliques, Université de Poitiers, Poitiers, 2009
  • 2010 B. Wols, CFD in drinking water treatment, TU Delft, Delft, 2010
  • 2011 M. Soufan, Oxydation par le chlore de composes pharmaceutiques, Université de Poitiers, Poitiers, 2011
  • 2012 X. Jin, Quantitative structure-property relationships (QSPR) modeling of rate constants of selected micropollutants in drinking water treatment using ozonation and UV/H2O2, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, 2012.
  • 2012 E. L. Yong, Kinetics of natural organic matter as the initiator, promoter and inhibitor in water ozonation and its influences on the removal of pharmaceutical compounds, National University of Singapore, Singapore, 2012.
  • 2013 H. Lutze, Sulfate radical based oxidation in water treatment, Universität Duisburg-Essen, Essen, 2013.
  • 2014 A. T. Sigstam, Mechanistic insights into virus disinfection: Influence of virus characteristics, solution composition and surface interaction, EPFL, Diss. No 6166, Lausanne, 2014.
  • 2014 C. E. Nottle, Advanced water treatment technologies to minimize the formation of emerging disinfection by-products in potable water, Curtin University, Perth, 2014.
  • 2014 U. Hübner, Enhanced water treatment by combined ozonation and managed aquifer recharge, TU Berlin, Berlin, 2014.

Drinking Water Chemistry, Eawag
Competence Centre for Drinking Water
Laboratory for Water Quality and Treatment, EPFL

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Curriculum Vitae

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Phone: +41 58 765 5270
Fax: +41 58 765 5802
Address: Eawag
Überlandstrasse 133
8600 Dübendorf
Office: BU D14

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Expert on

advanced oxidation processes, ozonation, drinking water, water treatment

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