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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Sediementcore from Greifensee (Photo: Eawag, Schmid)
Sediementcore from Greifensee (Photo: Eawag, Schmid)

Early Recognition of Pollutants in Soils and Sediments

September 02, 2020
Researchers from Agroscope, Eawag and ETH have developed a method for the comprehensive detection of organic pollutant residues in soils and sediments. Initial results show that, in addition to known substances, there are also a number of substances detected for the first time.  read more

Photo: Aldo Todaro
Christoph Ort, SWW (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: 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

Chow, R.; Scheidegger, R.; Doppler, T.; Dietzel, A.; Fenicia, F.; Stamm, C. (2020) A review of long-term pesticide monitoring studies to assess surface water quality trends, Water Research X, 9, 100064 (13 pp.), doi:10.1016/j.wroa.2020.100064, Institutional Repository
Burdon, F. J.; Bai, Y.; Reyes, M.; Tamminen, M.; Staudacher, P.; Mangold, S.; Singer, H.; Räsänen, K.; Joss, A.; Tiegs, S. D.; Jokela, J.; Eggen, R. I. L.; Stamm, C. (2020) Stream microbial communities and ecosystem functioning show complex responses to multiple stressors in wastewater, Global Change Biology, doi:10.1111/gcb.15302, Institutional Repository
Köpping, I.; McArdell, C. S.; Borowska, E.; Böhler, M. A.; Udert, K. M. (2020) Removal of pharmaceuticals from nitrified urine by adsorption on granular activated carbon, Water Research X, 9, 100057 (10 pp.), doi:10.1016/j.wroa.2020.100057, Institutional Repository
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

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