Department Water Resources and Drinking Water

Drinking Water Chemistry

Welcome to the group of "Drinking Water Chemistry"



We currently have projects to offer for Bachelor and Master theses.

Please get in contact by email.


Dr. Silvio CanonicaTel. +41 58 765 5453Send Mail
Elisabeth SalhiTel. +41 58 765 5257Send Mail
Dr. Nicolas WalpenTel. +41 58 765 5033Send Mail
Sung Eun LimTel. +41 58 765 5452Send Mail
Joanna HouskaPhD CandidateTel. +41 58 765 5107Send Mail
Simon RathTel. +41 58 765 5737Send Mail
Stephanie RemkePhD StudentTel. +41 58 765 6694Send Mail


Laura StoccoTel. +41 58 765 5364Send Mail

Research activities

Recent and ongoing research has been conducted in the areas of oxidation and disinfection processes and photochemical transformations.

Research activities in Oxidation and Desinfection Processes

Kinetic investigations, concept development for the characterization of oxidation and disinfection processes, characterization of matrix components ubiquitous in oxidation and disinfection processes, transfer of molecular knowledge to large scale plants.

Understanding the role of reactive bromine species during ozonation of bromide-containing waters

  • Assessing the effect of Br•/BrO• in bromate formation
  • Determining the reactivity of Br•/BrO• with DOM moieties
  • Investigating the formation of brominated oxidation byproducts

(contact: Sung Eun Lim)

Process Analysis and Control of Oxidative Waste Water Treatment for Micropollutant Abatement

  • On-line monitoring of chemical properties of process water during ozone treatment
  • Automated analysis of the redox properties of dissolved organic matter during ozone treatment
  • Optimization of the ozone dosage for the operation of full-scale treatment plants

(contact: Nicolas Walpen)

Understanding the formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and oxidation by-products (OBPs) from DOM-precursors

  • Characterization of DOM relevant for oxidant reactivity
  • Precursor elucidation of oxidation by-products and reactive oxygen species in DOM
  • Formation of problematic oxidation by-products

(contact: Joanna Houska)

Project collaborations

Ozonation is one of the treatments used in wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) to remove MPs, reducing their discharge to the aquatic environment...
Characterization of wastewater treatment with suspect und non-target screening for the evaluation of ozonation and activated carbon treatment
Formation and fate of transformation products in water treatment with ozone and biological post-treatment

Recent publications

Walpen, N.; Houska, J.; Salhi, E.; Sander, M.; von Gunten, U. (2020) Quantification of the electron donating capacity and UV absorbance of dissolved organic matter during ozonation of secondary wastewater effluent by an assay and an automated analyzer, Water Research, 185, 116235 (12 pp.), doi:10.1016/j.watres.2020.116235, Institutional Repository
Remucal, C. K.; Salhi, E.; Walpen, N.; von Gunten, U. (2020) Molecular-level transformation of dissolved organic matter during oxidation by ozone and hydroxyl radical, Environmental Science and Technology, 54(16), 10351-10360, doi:10.1021/acs.est.0c03052, Institutional Repository
Lim, S.; McArdell, C. S.; von Gunten, U. (2019) Reactions of aliphatic amines with ozone: kinetics and mechanisms, Water Research, 157, 514-528, doi:10.1016/j.watres.2019.03.089, Institutional Repository
Tentscher, P. R.; Lee, M.; von Gunten, U. (2019) Micropollutant oxidation studied by quantum chemical computations: methodology and applications to thermodynamics, kinetics, and reaction mechanisms, Accounts of Chemical Research, 52(3), 605-614, doi:10.1021/acs.accounts.8b00610, Institutional Repository
Marron, E. L.; Mitch, W. A.; Gunten, U. von; Sedlak, D. L. (2019) A tale of two treatments: the multiple barrier approach to removing chemical contaminants during potable water reuse, Accounts of Chemical Research, 52(3), 615-622, doi:10.1021/acs.accounts.8b00612, Institutional Repository
Önnby, L.; Salhi, E.; McKay, G.; Rosario-Ortiz, F. L.; von Gunten, U. (2018) Ozone and chlorine reactions with dissolved organic matter - Assessment of oxidant-reactive moieties by optical measurements and the electron donating capacities, Water Research, 144, 64-75, doi:10.1016/j.watres.2018.06.059, Institutional Repository
Önnby, L.; Walpen, N.; Salhi, E.; Sander, M.; von Gunten, U. (2018) Two analytical approaches quantifying the electron donating capacities of dissolved organic matter to monitor its oxidation during chlorination and ozonation, Water Research, 144, 677-689, doi:10.1016/j.watres.2018.06.060, Institutional Repository
Schollée, J. E.; Bourgin, M.; von Gunten, U.; McArdell, C. S.; Hollender, J. (2018) Non-target screening to trace ozonation transformation products in a wastewater treatment train including different post-treatments, Water Research, 142, 267-278, doi:10.1016/j.watres.2018.05.045, Institutional Repository
von Gunten, U. (2018) Oxidation processes in water treatment: are we on track?, Environmental Science and Technology, 52(9), 5062-5075, doi:10.1021/acs.est.8b00586, Institutional Repository
Tentscher, P. R.; Bourgin, M.; von Gunten, U. (2018) Ozonation of Para-substituted phenolic compounds yields p‑benzoquinones, other cyclic α,β-unsaturated ketones, and substituted catechols, Environmental Science and Technology, 52(8), 4763-4773, doi:10.1021/acs.est.8b00011, Institutional Repository
Bourgin, M.; Beck, B.; Boehler, M.; Borowska, E.; Fleiner, J.; Salhi, E.; Teichler, R.; von Gunten, U.; Siegrist, H.; McArdell, C. S. (2018) Evaluation of a full-scale wastewater treatment plant upgraded with ozonation and biological post-treatments: abatement of micropollutants, formation of transformation products and oxidation by-products, Water Research, 129, 486-498, doi:10.1016/j.watres.2017.10.036, Institutional Repository
Skarpeli-Liati, M.; Pati, S. G.; Bolotin, J.; Eustis, S. N.; Hofstetter, T. B. (2012) Carbon, hydrogen, and nitrogen isotope fractionation associated with oxidative transformation of substituted aromatic N-alkyl amines, Environmental Science and Technology, 46(13), 7189-7198, doi:10.1021/es300819v, Institutional Repository
Bourgin, M.; Borowska, E.; Helbing, J.; Hollender, J.; Kaiser, H.-P.; Kienle, C.; McArdell, C. S.; Simon, E.; von Gunten, U. (2017) Effect of operational and water quality parameters on conventional ozonation and the advanced oxidation process O3/H2O2: kinetics of micropollutant abatement, transformation product and bromate formation in a surface water, Water Research, 122, 234-245, doi:10.1016/j.watres.2017.05.018, Institutional Repository
Soltermann, F.; Abegglen, C.; Tschui, M.; Stahel, S.; von Gunten, U. (2017) Options and limitations for bromate control during ozonation of wastewater, Water Research, 116, 76-85, doi:10.1016/j.watres.2017.02.026, Institutional Repository
Heeb, M. B.; Kristiana, I.; Trogolo, D.; Arey, J. S.; von Gunten, U. (2017) Formation and reactivity of inorganic and organic chloramines and bromamines during oxidative water treatment, Water Research, 110, 91-101, doi:10.1016/j.watres.2016.11.065, Institutional Repository
Lee, M.; Blum, L. C.; Schmid, E.; Fenner, K.; von Gunten, U. (2017) A computer-based prediction platform for the reaction of ozone with organic compounds in aqueous solution: kinetics and mechanisms, Environmental Science: Processes and Impacts, 19(3), 465-476, doi:10.1039/C6EM00584E, Institutional Repository
Spahr, S.; Cirpka, O. A.; von Gunten, U.; Hofstetter, T. B. (2017) Formation of N-Nitrosodimethylamine during chloramination of secondary and tertiary amines: role of molecular oxygen and radical intermediates, Environmental Science and Technology, 51(1), 280-290, doi:10.1021/acs.est.6b04780, Institutional Repository
Soltermann, F.; Abegglen, C.; Götz, C.; von Gunten, U. (2016) Bromide sources and loads in Swiss surface waters and their relevance for bromate formation during wastewater ozonation, Environmental Science and Technology, 50(18), 9825-9834, doi:10.1021/acs.est.6b01142, Institutional Repository
Lee, Y.; von Gunten, U. (2016) Advances in predicting organic contaminant abatement during ozonation of municipal wastewater effluent: reaction kinetics, transformation products, and changes of biological effects, Environmental Science: Water Research and Technology, 2, 421-442, doi:10.1039/c6ew00025h, Institutional Repository

Research Activities in Photochemical Transformation Processes

Quantum yields, kinetics and mechanisms of photochemical reactions that lead to the degradation of chemical contaminants.

Photochemical Transformation Processes including pollutants and radicals

  • Photosensitized degradation of phenolic compounds, anilines, pharmaceuticals and pesticides: the complex role of dissolved organic matter (DOM) as a promoter and inhibitor of oxidation reactions
  • Photoinduced production and reaction kinetics of oxidizing radicals (sulfate radical, carbonate radical): application to the degradation of contaminants in engineered aquatic systems

(contact: Dr. Silvio Canonica)

Characterizing organic radical oxidants produced by photoirradiation of dissolved organic matter ("OROPHOT")

  • Photochemical transformation kinetics of organic pollutants
  • Photooxidants produced by chromophoric dissolved organic matter
  • Methods: Steady-state irradiations, HPLC analysis, laser flash photolysis

(contact: Stephanie Remke)

Recent publications

Remke, S. C.; von Gunten, U.; Canonica, S. (2021) Enhanced transformation of aquatic organic compounds by long-lived photooxidants (LLPO) produced from dissolved organic matter, Water Research, 190, 116707 (10 pp.), doi:10.1016/j.watres.2020.116707, Institutional Repository
Canonica, S.; Schönenberger, U. (2019) Inhibitory effect of dissolved organic matter on the transformation of selected anilines and sulfonamide antibiotics induced by the sulfate radical, Environmental Science and Technology, 53(20), 11783-11791, doi:10.1021/acs.est.9b04105, Institutional Repository
Leresche, F.; Ludvíková, L.; Heger, D.; Klán, P.; von Gunten, U.; Canonica, S. (2019) Laser flash photolysis study of the photoinduced oxidation of 4-(dimethylamino)benzonitrile (DMABN), Photochemical and Photobiological Sciences, 18(2), 534-545, doi:10.1039/C8PP00519B, Institutional Repository
Vione, D.; Fabbri, D.; Minella, M.; Canonica, S. (2018) Effects of the antioxidant moieties of dissolved organic matter on triplet-sensitized phototransformation processes: implications for the photochemical modeling of sulfadiazine, Water Research, 128, 38-48, doi:10.1016/j.watres.2017.10.020, Institutional Repository
Lee, M.; Merle, T.; Rentsch, D.; Canonica, S.; von Gunten, U. (2017) Abatement of polychoro-1,3-butadienes in aqueous solution by ozone, UV photolysis, and advanced oxidation processes (O3/H2O2 and UV/H2O2), Environmental Science and Technology, 51(1), 497-505, doi:10.1021/acs.est.6b04506, Institutional Repository
Rosario-Ortiz, F. L.; Canonica, S. (2016) Probe compounds to assess the photochemical activity of dissolved organic matter, Environmental Science and Technology, 50(23), 12532-12547, doi:10.1021/acs.est.6b02776, Institutional Repository
Yuan, C.; Chakraborty, M.; Canonica, S.; Weavers, L. K.; Hadad, C. M.; Chin, Y.-P. (2016) Isoproturon reappearance after photosensitized degradation in the presence of triplet ketones or fulvic acids, Environmental Science and Technology, 50(22), 12250-12257, doi:10.1021/acs.est.6b03655, Institutional Repository
McNeill, K.; Canonica, S. (2016) Triplet state dissolved organic matter in aquatic photochemistry: reaction mechanisms, substrate scope, and photophysical properties, Environmental Science: Processes and Impacts, 18(11), 1381-1399, doi:10.1039/c6em00408c, Institutional Repository
Leresche, F.; Von Gunten, U.; Canonica, S. (2016) Probing the photosensitizing and inhibitory effects of dissolved organic matter by using N,N-dimethyl-4-cyanoaniline (DMABN), Environmental Science and Technology, 50(20), 10997-11007, doi:10.1021/acs.est.6b02868, Institutional Repository