Department Environmental Chemistry

Suspect and non-target screening of organic micropollutants in Swiss groundwaters

Spring capture at Zurichberg, photo: Karin Kiefer, Eawag
Spring capture at Zurichberg, photo: Karin Kiefer, Eawag

In order to obtain a more comprehensive picture of the contamination of Swiss groundwater with polar organic micropollutants, this research project augments the NAQUA National Groundwater Monitoring of the Federal Office for the Environment in 2017 and 2018. For this project, groundwater samples are collected from catchments with different land use, then enriched and analysed with high resolution mass spectrometry coupled to liquid chromatography (LC-HRMS). The first part of the research project focuses on an extensive target screening of 600 pesticides, pharmaceuticals and other relevant compounds. In addition, a suspect screening for pesticide transformation products is performed. In the second part of the project, we will conduct a suspect screening for micropollutants from urban sources and their transformation products, as well as a non-target screening for unknown contaminants. For this, novel analytical techniques and novel data analysis methods will be applied. This broad screening will support the selection of further compounds to include in the Swiss NAQUA screening programme and for other European monitoring programmes.

Spring, photo: Karin Kiefer, Eawag
Spring, photo: Karin Kiefer, Eawag
Pumping well and groundwater protection zone S1 in Dubendorf, photo: Karin Kiefer, Eawag
Pumping well and groundwater protection zone S1 in Dubendorf, photo: Karin Kiefer, Eawag