The latest news from Eawag

Cover picture: Legionella thrive particularly well in biofilms inside shower hoses. Eawag has analysed the other microorganisms with which they coexist there. The picture shows a biofilm removed from a shower hose (Photo: Eawag: Frederik Hammes)
One Legionella rarely comes alone
December 8, 2023

Legionella always interact with other organisms. Eawag researchers have characterised microbial communities and analysed their relationship to Legionella.

Ozone is blown into the treated wastewater through these diffusers (WWTP Neugut, Dübendorf; photo: Max Schachtler) .
Swiss approach to modern wastewater treatment is ...
December 1, 2023

A team of seven current and former Eawag researchers will receive the Swiss Chemical Society’s Sandmeyer Prize in 2024 for the development of advanced wastewater treatment for the degradation of micropollutants using ozone. And the most amazing thing is: Just about 15 years have passed between basic research and large-scale technical implementation. This incredible timetable was only possible thanks to the wealth of knowledge already available at Eawag and the fact that interdisciplinary collaboration is a matter of course at the Swiss aquatic research institute.

Rooftop garden of the housing cooperative Equilibre in Geneva, irrigated with treated wastewater (Photo: Eawag, Kayla Coppens).
Treat wastewater in an environmentally sustainable way ...
November 30, 2023

This research project explores vermifiltration as an alternative method for wastewater treatment. The aim is to fill knowledge gaps.

Tove Larsen (Photo: Peter Penicka, Eawag)
“I simply saw no alternative”
November 22, 2023

Chemical engineer Tove Larsen made an impact at Eawag over the course of 24 years. Besides being the first woman to hold a managerial position at Eawag in the field of urban water management, she was also initiator and head of the Novaquatis cross-cutting project, group leader and member of the Eawag Directorate. Her areas of responsibility have included urine source separation, the Blue Diversion toilet, the Water Hub and Wings.

ETH Rector Günther Dissertori presents Charlotte Bopp with the Otto Jaag Water Protection Prize 2023 (Photo: ETH, Giulia Marthaler)
Otto Jaag Water Protection Prize 2023 and ETH Medal for ...
November 21, 2023

On ETH Day, Charlotte Bopp was honoured with the Otto Jaag Water Protection Prize for her dissertation. In January, she will also receive the ETH Medal for her work.

Quagga mussels in Lake Geneva: the biomass per square metre is likely to increase by a factor of nine to 20 over the next 22 years (Photo: Eawag, Linda Haltiner).
Quagga mussel: prognosis for affected lakes
November 16, 2023

A comparison of three Swiss lakes with the Great Lakes of North America show that the quagga mussel is spreading with a similar dynamic.

Bernhard Truffer among the most cited scientists 2023 (Photo: Eawag)
Bernhard Truffer among the most cited scientists 2023
November 15, 2023

Professor Bernhard Truffer of the Eawag Water Research Institute is among the "highly cited researchers 2023".

For 30 years, Prof. Dr Rik Eggen has been committed to Eawag, its employees and water research, first as a researcher, then as head of department, later as a member of the Directorate and from 2007 to the beginning of 2023 as Deputy Director (Photo: Peter Penicka).
Rik Eggen: “I want to dive into a new life”
November 13, 2023

Professor Dr Rik Eggen worked at the aquatic research institute Eawag for three decades, including 16 years as deputy director. Now he is entering retirement.

A dredger excavates the river bed on the Alpine Rhine so that changes in groundwater flows can be observed. (Photo: Matthias Brennwald, Eawag)
Using noble gases to track groundwater flows
November 9, 2023

Over the next 20 years, Austria and Switzerland will be investing more than CHF 1.4 billion in flood protection and ecological enhancement measures on the Alpine Rhine. As well as protecting the Rhine valley against flooding, the aim is to promote careful management of groundwater resources. With a new method, scientists from Eawag and the University of Neuchâtel are providing support for International Rhine Regulation planners.

Defining and implementing policy measures to improve the condition of bodies of water are  challenging tasks. The two platforms help to close gaps in knowledge (Photo: Karin Stäheli, Eawag).
Four more years for successful platforms
October 19, 2023

The mandate for the “Water Quality” and “Process Engineering Micropollutants” platforms supported by Eawag, FOEN and VSA has been extended by an additional four years.

Sampling at a lake. (Photo: ETH Board, Daniel Kellenberger)
Underestimated diversity of toxins from cyanobacteria
October 17, 2023

The guidelines of the WHO list only four substances produced by cyanobacteria. This is a small fraction of all the metabolites that can have ecotoxicological effects.

Black soldier fly laying eggs (© Eawag).
New Eawag spin-off: Creating value from organic waste
October 10, 2023

Thanks to many years of research at the aquatic research institute Eawag, biologist Stefan Diener and environmental scientist Bram Dortmans know how to turn organic waste into valuable feed with the help of black soldier flies. Together, they have founded the spin off Eclose to put their expertise into practice.

Lake Victoria in East Africa was completely dry for almost 4,000 years before it filled up with water again 16,000 years ago (Photo: Eawag, Nare Ngoepe).
In the fast lane thanks to genome recycling
October 4, 2023

In just 16,000 years, more than 500 cichlid species, distributed throughout the entire food web, have evolved in Lake Victoria. This explosion of biodiversity was made possible by repeated cycles of fusion and diversification in evolutionary lineages, as researchers from Eawag and the University of Bern have described in the “Science” and “Nature” journals. The results underscore that it is not just species that need protection, but entire “species swarms”.

More green and blue in cities to enhance liveability
September 28, 2023

There are many challenges that face cities in the era of climate change and rising population density, including heatwaves, floods, water shortages, loss of biodiversity and increasing demand for energy. Eawag is researching how these problems could be mitigated using blue-green infrastructure.

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.