Department Environmental Chemistry

On the trail of pollutants

Our research team studies the presence, distribution and fate of organic pollutants in the aquatic environment. The focus of our research is on substance flux from urban areas and from agriculture, and the main tools that we use for this work are trace analysis, field and laboratory studies and modelling.

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Photo: Aldo Todaro
Christoph Ort, ENG (left) and Heinz Singer, Uchem (right) in the MS2field-trailer. (Photo: Aldo Todaro)

Mobile system measures water quality in real time

June 10, 2020
Thanks to a new instrument, water pollutants can be measured automatically over a period of weeks – directly in the field, rather than in the laboratory. The mobile mass spectrometer is housed in a trailer and can be remotely controlled by smartphone. read more

Photo: Alessandra Giuliani
Market of traditional grains in Kastamonu, Turkey

SFIAR Project Showcase

May 28, 2020
Pesticide use in tropical settings
With a fixed set of questions, this series aims to showcase interesting Swiss projects in Agricultural Research for Development. read more

Photo: Curdin Brugger
Photo: Curdin Brugger

Pesticide collage awarded at SNF photo competition

May 12, 2020,
Every year, the Swiss National Science Foundation launches a photography competition to select the best images from the world of science. In the category "The Research Project" the collage of a joint research project of Eawag and the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute was recognized. read more

Latest publications

Hansen, M. R. H.; Jørs, E.; Sandbæk, A.; Sekabojja, D.; Ssempebwa, J. C.; Mubeezi, R.; Staudacher, P.; Fuhrimann, S.; Burdorf, A.; Bibby, B. M.; Schlünssen, V. (2020) Exposure to cholinesterase inhibiting insecticides and blood glucose level in a population of Ugandan smallholder farmers, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, doi:10.1136/oemed-2020-106439, Institutional Repository
Ammann, L.; Doppler, T.; Stamm, C.; Reichert, P.; Fenicia, F. (2020) Characterizing fast herbicide transport in a small agricultural catchment with conceptual models, Journal of Hydrology, 586, 124812 (15 pp.), doi:10.1016/j.jhydrol.2020.124812, Institutional Repository
Bopp, C. E.; Kohler, H. P. E.; Hofstetter, T. B. (2020) Enzyme kinetics of organic contaminant oxygenations, Chimia, 74(3), 108-114, doi:10.2533/chimia.2020.108, Institutional Repository
Anliker, S.; Loos, M.; Comte, R.; Ruff, M.; Fenner, K.; Singer, H. (2020) Assessing emissions from pharmaceutical manufacturing based on temporal high-resolution mass spectrometry data, Environmental Science and Technology, 54(7), 4110-4120, doi:10.1021/acs.est.9b07085, Institutional Repository

Selected and representative research projects

Comprehensive monitoring of organic trace substances in surface waters is time-consuming and costly. The NAWA SPEZ project delivers data and analyses on the status of water pollution.
Predicting environment-specific biotransformation of chemical contaminants
The screening of aquatic systems for known and unknown polar and semi-polar organic micropollutants relies heavily on analytical chemistry, foremost high-resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS) coupled to liquid chromatography (LC)....
Pilot scale advanced treatment of wastewater with granular activated carbon (GAC) and combined with ozonation (O3/GAC) at WWTP Glarnerland