The latest news from Eawag

Organisation & Staff
Sara Marks becomes new member of the Eawag Directorate
September 21, 2023

The ETH Board announces the appointment of Sara Marks as a new member of the Eawag Directorate. On 1 November, Sara Marks will replace Tove Larsen, who will retire at the end of October 2023.

Residents bringing water home in a village in Northern Kenya.  Image: Eawag, George Wainaina
Can the consistent use of water filters be promoted?
September 19, 2023

During prolonged droughts, the drinking water supply for the affected population is critical. Water filters are of enormous importance in such emergencies to prevent diseases. However, often it is not the distribution of filters that is lacking, but the fact that they are not used consistently in everyday life. Researchers at the Aquatic Research Institute Eawag have analysed the reasons for this in Northern Kenya.

The theme of "water" runs like a common (blue) thread through the various SDGs, which also guide Eawag’s research (Watercolour: Eawag Communication / Philipp Ringli)
Sustainable Development Goals also apply to Switzerland
September 14, 2023

At today's Eawag Info Day, the Aquatic Research Institute outlined the steps that need to be taken to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Dank DNA-Analyse konnte in der Kläranlage Langmatt das Bakterium identifiziert werden, das für eine übermässige Schaumbildung verantwortlich war (Foto: Robert Niederdorfer/Eawag).
Early warning system for sewage treatment plants
September 7, 2023

Timely analyses of the bacterial community in wastewater treatment plants enables changes to be detected and remedied before cleaning performance suffers.

PSI, Empa, Eawag and WSL are joining forces even more to provide answers to pressing research questions. (Video stills from the 4RI clip)
Enriching partnership for research and innovation
September 4, 2023

The 4 research institutes of the ETH Domain strengthen cooperation and build bridges between research and innovative solutions for today's challenges.

Insecticides are designed to target the nervous system of fruit and crop pests (such as the Colorado potato beetle), however they often affect the nervous system of other organisms as well. (Photo: Shutterstock, Sidorov Ruslan)
Insecticides can affect fish behaviour
August 24, 2023

This can indirectly affect the survival of fish populations and may be one of the reasons for the fish decline we are currently observing in Switzerland.

Courtyard with greenery on Heinrichstrasse, Zurich (Photo: Eawag, Lucas Gobatti).
Using satellite imagery to optimise urban cooling
August 22, 2023

Green spaces or trees can mitigate urban heat, but it takes time for the cooling effects to develop. Modelling using satellite data can show how much time is needed.

Sewer under Zurich’s Bahnhofstrasse: The sewer conveys dirty water to the wastewater treatment plant, while the pipe drains rainwater away. (Photo: Max Maurer, Eawag, ETH Zurich)
Combined sewer system no longer sustainable
August 17, 2023

The combined sewer system is a great achievement. But the discharge of diluted wastewater into central sewage treatment plants is approaching its limits.

The colourful growth pattern informs about when the glowing bacteria exchange genetic material with each other. Copyright: Springer Nature, Timing of antibiotic administration determines the spread of plasmid-encoded antibiotic resistance during microbial range expansion, Yinyin Ma et al, Springer Communications.
How antibiotic resistance spreads in bacterial colonies
August 15, 2023

The number of microbes that acquire antibiotic resistance depends on the time at which the antibiotic is added. This is a conclusion reached by a research group at Eawag on the basis of experiments with genetically modified bacteria that glow in different colours when they exchange genetic information with each other.

Biodiversity in river systems from 22 European countries increased significantly from 1968, but this development has stagnated since the 2010s. (Photo: Senckenberg)
First recovery, then stagnation: The state of ...
August 9, 2023

In the scientific journal Nature, a team including a member of Eawag published a study on the development of biodiversity in European inland waters, based on invertebrates.

 (from left to right) Halder Lia, Laborantin EFZ Chemie, Gsell Annina, Laborantin EFZ Chemie, Eberhard Jennifer, Laborantin EFZ Chemie, Rohrbach Andrin, Laborant EFZ Chemie, Isenschmid Sina, Laborantin EFZ Chemie, Hofland Max, Laborant EFZ Biologie, Erni David, ICT Fachmann EFZ, Tobler Pascal, Laborant EFZ Chemie, Pepe Alessandro, Laborant EFZ Chemie (Photo: Peter Penicka)
Successful completion of apprenticeship 2023
July 20, 2023

Nine apprentices have recently completed their training at Eawag as laboratory technicians in chemistry and biology and as IT specialists. Congratulations!

Eawag researcher BJ Ward was awarded the ETH Medal for her doctoral thesis. (Photo: BJ Ward)
ETH Medal for Barbara Jeanne Ward
July 14, 2023

Barbara Jeanne “BJ” Ward received the ETH Medal for her doctoral thesis on predicting the dewatering capacity of faecal sludge in mid-July. The medal honours excellent master and doctoral theses at ETH Zurich each year.

Benjamin Hofmann (Photo: Eawag)
Benjamin Hofmann joins the Swiss Young Academy
July 6, 2023

The Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences has elected five new members to the Swiss Young Academy, including Benjamin Hofmann, postdoctoral researcher in the Environmental Social Sciences Department at the Aquatic Research Institute Eawag.

Farmers spraying vegetables in the Zarcero region of Costa Rica. (Photo: Mirko Winkler, Swiss TPH)
Consequences of pesticide use in the tropics
June 27, 2023

While the use of pesticides in industrial countries is being questioned more and more critically, less is known about their consequences on human health and the environment in tropical countries. The interdisciplinary project “Pestrop” is now changing this and also shows where the necessary measures need to be taken.

The scanning electron microscope image shows a colony of bacteria (coloured bluish) around a few micrometres small root (brown) in the soil. The image represents how bacteria and microbial communities influence CO2 release from the soil through heterotrophic respiration: The soil contains soil grains to which microbial communities adhere and process dissolved oxygen O2 and organic carbon DOC from organic matter (OM). Image: Springer Nature / Institute of Environmental Engineering
Global warming accelerates CO2 emissions from soil ...
June 22, 2023

CO2 emissions from heterotrophic respiration could increase by 40% by the end of the century.

Photo: Eawag, Guido Pasquino
Students at the cutting edge of research
June 20, 2023

Every year, around 180 bachelor and master students are supervised at Eawag. They often participate directly in research projects. This integration, the flat hierarchies and Eawag’s interdisciplinary culture repeatedly lead to master theses receiving awards.

Beneath the Bahnhofstrasse in Zurich, a sewer conveys wastewater to the treatment plant. Rainwater is channelled through a separate pipe. (Photograph: Max Maurer / ETH Zurich)
Rethinking wastewater management
June 14, 2023

Out of sight, out of mind: we’ve been flushing away human waste ever since sewers were invented, using copious amounts of fresh water to expel it from our homes and cities as fast as the pipes can carry it. In an interview with the ETH magazine GLOBE, Eawag researchers Max Maurer and Kai Udert talk about the water management of the future.

Read the LinkedIn post


Photo: Eawag, Peter Penicka
Our apprentices: the skilled workers of tomorrow
June 13, 2023

Eawag has been involved in basic vocational training for many years. In short portraits we introduce four of the apprentices.