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An employee of a toilet supplier scans the QR code of the collected containers. (LooWatt)
May 24, 2018

Payment via mobile, replacement parts made on a 3D-printer, error messages via NFC-tag – Eawag doctoral student Caroline Saul has found some remarkable innovations in companies that market container toilets in developing countries. She sees great potential in making such technologies more widely available. Read more

Graphics: Eawag, Livia Enderli
May 18, 2018

For the second time within short time, Eawag research made it to the cover of the journal “Environmental Science & Technology”. In April, Eawag researcher Urs von Gunten and his team’s paper on understanding the ozonation of phenols was selected for the ACS Editor’s Choice Article and put on the cover of the journal.  Read more

Janet Hering to receive 2018 NWRI Clarke Prize (Photo: ETH)
May 17, 2018

The National Water Research Institute (NWRI) awarded Eawag director Janet Hering with the 2018 NWRI Clarke Prize for outstanding achievement in water science and technology and to honoring her contributions to the safety of drinking water. Janet Hering will receive the Clarke Prize on October 26, 2018, at the Twenty-Fifth Annual NWRI Clarke Prize Award Ceremony in Orange County, California. Read more

Water kiosk in Uganda. (Maryna Peter, FHNW)
May 16, 2018

Ultrafiltration is one of the techniques currently used for disinfecting water – viruses and bacteria are reliably retained by a membrane with extremely small pores. For more than ten years, Eawag has successfully been carrying out research to determine how this method can function using the effect of gravity on water instead of high pressure, cleaning and chemicals. These new discoveries are being applied in increasing numbers of ways. In addition to decentralised drinking water purification, Eawag is now researching uses in areas such as greywater recycling and pre-treatment of seawater for desalination. Read more

Haplochromis ishmaeli (Photo: Erwin Schraml)
May 9, 2018

Lake Victoria in East Africa is known for its vast biodiversity. But according to a report published recently by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), to which Eawag also contributed, many species of fish, molluscs, crustaceans and aquatic plants are currently at risk. Read more

With intensive irrigation, there is a risk of nutrients and pesticides loss to groundwater. (Photo: Andri Bryner, Eawag)
May 2, 2018

How can we reduce inputs of plant protection products from agricultural areas into streams and rivers? Experts working in agricultural and surface-water research have undertaken a qualitative evaluation of the effectiveness and practicability of various measures. Read more

Membrane units of nitrogen recovery plant at WWTP Yverdon-les-Bains (Photo: Alpha Wassertechnik AG)
April 30, 2018

There is a wealth of energy and nutrients in wastewater. New processes enable the recovery of these resources from wastewater and sewage sludge, with the goal of redefining the function of the wastewater-treatment plants. Formerly energy users, they will become energy producers and the source of valuable fertilizer. This new technology has convinced the Swiss Climate Cent Foundation. It is contributing financial support to the construction of the new installation in the ARA Altenrhein. Read more

Photo: Eawag
April 27, 2018

This April, Sandec and its partners hosted two national workshops on small-scale sanitation – one in New Delhi, India and one in Kathmandu, Nepal. The aim of the workshops was to discuss the results of two years of field research with participants from government, utilities, academia, donors, the private sector and NGOs. Read more

Photo: Peter Penicka, Eawag
April 25, 2018

Researchers of the Eawag department Sanitation, Water and Solid Waste for Development (Sandec) and ETH Zurich are developing a method to produce animal feed from biowaste products. This is one of 14 projects in the Engineering for Development programme funded by the Sawiris Foundation for Social Development over the past decade and entering its next 5-year cycle. Read more

Freshwater amphipods consume leaf litter and other organic material from terrestrial sources. (Photo: Chelsea Little, Eawag)
April 20, 2018

Amphipods play a key role in freshwater ecosystems. In her doctoral research at Eawag, biologist Chelsea Little discovered that invasive amphipod species consume much less leaf litter than native species. Read more

The Rhine serves as a drinking water reservoir for Basel. On transboundary rivers, regulation of water quality poses major challenges. Source: Norbert Aepli
April 16, 2018

What is the contribution of upstream areas to micropollutant loads in the Rhine at Basel and Düsseldorf? How effectively do authorities and water suppliers collaborate on management and regulation across national boundaries? An interdisciplinary approach developed by Eawag scientists can help to identify deficiencies. Read more

Typischer Grundwasserbrunnen in Peru (Foto: Caroline de Meyer, Eawag)
April 10, 2018

Faced with polluted river water, rural communities or aid agencies often drill groundwater wells to obtain water supplies. But data collected systematically for the first time in the Amazon basin show that this “solution” can create new problems: the groundwater may contain elevated concentrations of arsenic, manganese and aluminium – up to 70 times over the recommended limit in the case of arsenic, and up to 15 times for manganese. Read more

The elimination of aquatic environments of adequate size (here on the Doubs near la Motte / JU) is controversial in many areas (Photo: Foen, Ex-Press, Herbert Böhler & Flurin Bertsch).
April 5, 2018

Financial support and the further increase in hydroelectric power, negative effects of plant protection agents and the destruction of aquatic environments were the major themes in Swiss water policy in the year 2017. Read more

Trout were caught and studied in various brooks above and below wastewater treatment plants in order to determine whether and how they react to harmful chemicals (Photo: Eawag).
April 4, 2018

Monitoring the effects of chemicals on environmental systems with many species has always been a challenge. On behalf of the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN), Eawag and the Ecotox Centre-EPFL investigated how the regulation of genes in fish and in single fish cells allow scientists to deduce water quality and fish health. Read more

March 27, 2018

Rubber ducks and crocodiles have always been popular bathtime companions. An Eawag study has now revealed the “dark side” of flexible plastic bath toys. Diverse microbial growth is promoted not only by the plastic materials but by bath users themselves. Read more

River “Sense” close to Zumholz, FR (Photo: Markus Zeh)
March 19, 2018

“A rolling stone gathers no moss.” This is the saying credited with giving the famous British rock band its name…but does it hold true from an ecological or hydraulic engineering perspective?  Read more

Janet Hering (Photo: Eawag, Aldo Todaro)
March 13, 2018

The Geochemical Society and the European Association of Geochemistry (EAG) have awarded Janet Hering, Director of Eawag and Professor in Environmental Biogeochemistry at ETH Zurich, the title of Geochemical Fellow. Read more

March 8, 2018

Eawag scientist Lenny Winkel was appointed as Associate Professor of Environmental Inorganic Geochemistry by the ETH board. Lenny Winkel leads the group Environmental Inorganic Geochemistry within the Department Water Resources and Drinking Water and is until today Assistant Professor at ETH Zurich. Read more

Collection of wastewater samples at the Werdhölzli treatment plant in Zurich (Photo: Peter Penicka, Eawag)
March 7, 2018

In 2017, 68 cities (mostly in Europe) again took part in a large-scale project measuring drug levels in wastewater. The results for 2017 were published today by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA).  Read more

Dendritic branched river network (Photo: Paul Bourke/Google Earth fractals)
March 5, 2018

River networks are dendritic and have a physical direction. The influence of these spatial preconditions on the dispersal of species and the dynamics within metacommunities has been the focus of research for a number of years.  Read more

If global warming cannot be limited to 1.5 °C, approximately one third of the land area and one fifth of the population will be affected by drought.  Photo: BAFU, Judith Grundmann
February 22, 2018

The earth’s water supply is changing because of global warming: the ratio of precipitation to evaporation is sinking, and additional arid zones may emerge. The speed at which this development is likely to take place has been analysed by an international team including Eawag researchers.  Read more

Outlet of the Rhone into Lake Geneva near le Bouveret: tributaries have a cooling effect on the predicted temperature increase of lakes due to climate change. Photo: Rama, Wikimedia Commons, Cc-by-sa-2.0-fr
February 19, 2018

If the climate heats up, the temperature in the uppermost layer of lakes will increase, the thermic layering will become more stable and last longer, and less oxygen will reach the depths – this is the present theory on the effect of climate change on lakes. Read more

Caitlin Proctor and Frederik Hammes investigating biofilms in shower hoses. (Photo: Eawag, Aldo Todaro)
February 15, 2018

A shower hose will often contain more bacteria than the rest of the building’s plumbing system. A research team led by Frederik Hammes has been investigating this topic for the past four years. In their latest study, they analysed biofilms in 78 shower hoses from 11 countries, and in 21 of them, they detected legionella – a potential pathogen. In this interview, Hammes explains why we should not be unduly concerned. Read more

Experimental flooding: Eawag researchers collecting data to improve the modelling of flash floods in urban areas. (Photo: Andreas Scheidegger, Eawag)
February 12, 2018

Heavy rainfall can cause flash floods in urban areas. While data from flood events is required to model such phenomena, water levels and discharges are not routinely measured above ground. Eawag now plans to make use of widely available images and videos to estimate these values. Read more

The cordless transmission of data from underground is a challenge. A researcher making distance measurement tests in the wireless sensor network. (Photo: S. Dicht / C. Ebi, Eawag)
February 8, 2018

When a person wearing a bright-orange protective suit and carrying a laptop climbs out of a sewer shaft, it could well be an employee of the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag). Especially if this happens in Fehraltorf. Since 2016, Eawag has been constructing an internationally unique net of sensors that document water circulation in residential areas. Read more

A lake overgrown with aquatic plants in Vanuatu, July 2017.
January 24, 2018

A research team from the Surface Waters Research and Management Department is investigating the earliest traces of human life in the tropical Pacific. In July 2017, the team undertook an expedition to Vanuatu in Melanesia. The researchers took sediment cores from the lakes and marshes on seven islands in order to test these for indications of the earliest human activities. Read more

January 17, 2018

How much thermal energy from Swiss lakes can be exploited without having an impact on their ecosystems? Eawag was commissioned by the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) to estimate the potentials with the larger lakes and rivers. Read more

Sampling invertebrates (Photo: University of Leeds, Lee Brown)
December 18, 2017

River invertebrates react the same way to decreasing glacier cover wherever in the world they are, say scientists who have evaluated more than one million of them in diverse regions with shrinking glaciers, to determine the impact of global environmental change. Their findings are published today in Nature Ecology & Evolution. Read more

Kai Udert presents the project VUNA (Photo: Aldo Todaro, Eawag)
December 14, 2017

At its meeting on 13 and 14 December 2017, the ETH Board appointed Dr. Kai Udert as Titular Professor of ETH Zurich. Kai Udert works at Eawag since 2006 and is currently group leader within the Department Process Engineering and lecturer at ETH Zurich. His main research focus is on new technologies for resource recovery from wastewater. Read more

Outskirts of Aleppo. (Photo: ICRC)
December 13, 2017

The EPFL has launched a new Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) in collaboration with Eawag’s Sandec department and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The course is designed to shed light on the important role played by Public Health Engineers at times of humanitarian crisis, and how health risks can be mitigated. Read more

DNA sampling from a sediment core in the safe lab (Photo: Peter Penicka, Eawag)
December 11, 2017

The composition of cyanobacterial communities in peri-alpine lakes has become increasingly similar over the past century. Climate warming and a period of eutrophication have favoured in particular potentially toxic species which can adapt rapidly to environmental changes. These are the findings of an Eawag-led study analysing DNA extracted from sediment cores. Read more

Janet Hering (Photo: Christoph Meier, SVGW)
December 4, 2017

Inadequate access to safe sanitation in developing and emerging countries is one of the most pressing global challenges in the water sector, according to Eawag Director Janet Hering, who is interviewed in the latest issue of Aqua & Gas.  Read more

Michael Besmer receives the Otto Jaag Waterprotection Prize from ETH rector Prof. Dr. Sarah Springman. (Photo: ETH Zurich)
November 30, 2017

Michael Besmer has been awarded the 2017 Otto Jaag Water Protection prize for his thesis on “Monitoring short-term dynamics of bacterial concentrations in natural and engineered aquatic ecosystems”. The prize recognises excellent PhD theses and masters dissertations completed at ETH Zurich in the fields of water protection and hydrology.  Read more

All the way down: researchers used a submersible robot to measure oxygen concentrations throughout the water column in Lake Geneva. Photo: EPFL
November 27, 2017

Although nutrient inputs to Swiss lakes are today much lower than they were before the introduction of phosphate precipitation at wastewater treatment plants and the ban on phosphates in detergents, many lakes are still affected by oxygen depletion – especially in the deeper waters. Read more

Drain controllers limit outflows from a stormwater basin in Trimbach (canton of Solothurn). Photo: Stebatec AG
November 24, 2017

During heavy rainfall, wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) are often unable to cope with the volumes of water arising, and some wastewater may then be discharged untreated into surface waters.  Read more

Groundwater sounding near Fehraltorf, ZH (Photo: Robin Weatherl, Eawag)
November 23, 2017

In collaboration with the Centre for Hydrogeology and Geothermal Energy at the University of Neuchâtel, Eawag recently organised a PEAK Course on the controversial topic of “Groundwater and Agriculture”. A major focal point of the information and discussions was the issue of nitrate pollution. Read more

Restoration of the Chriesbach stream in Dübendorf. Photo: Peter Penicka, Eawag
November 22, 2017

According to a survey conducted by Eawag, around 45 per cent of all actors in the Swiss water sector are concerned in some way with river restoration.  Read more

Artists in Labs: “Land Art” in the Roseg Valley (Photo: Peter Penicka, Eawag)
November 21, 2017

As part of the artists-in-labs programme run by the Zurich University of the Arts, two artists from Saudi Arabia are currently artists-in-residence at Eawag for three months. Zahrah Alghamdi is working in the Aquatic Ecology department and is looking at running waters and their physical properties as well as their emotional and poetical aspects, while Muhannad Shono is a guest of the Environmental Microbiology department, where he is exploring parallels between microorganisms and humans. Read more

On 21 November 2017, will be Switzerland’s first ever Digital Day. (Picture: digitaltag.swiss)
November 20, 2017

Tomorrow, 21 November 2017, will be Switzerland’s first ever Digital Day, with around 40 prominent businesses and institutions holding more than 80 events around the country to show what the significance of digitalisation will be for them and for Switzerland’s future. The President of the Federal Council, Doris Leuthard, will open the Digital Day at an event in Zurich’s main railway station, which will also be attended by federal minister Johann Schneider and Eawag Director Janet Hering. Read more

Eawag water experts contributing to a new online course (Photo: University of Zurich)
November 2, 2017

Christian Stamm and Alfred Johny Wüest are lecturing along with other academics and practitioners in a new online course on “Water in Switzerland”, run by the University of Zurich. The course, addressed to the public, examines how this element affects various aspects of life in Switzerland. Read more

Photo: Aldo Todaro
June 29, 2016

In recent decades, Swiss water protection efforts have focused on reducing nutrient inputs; today, one of the main concerns is controlling micropollutants. Read more

Fig. 1: Juvenile whitefish prior to their release from a hatchery into Lake Thun. (Photo: Emanuel Ammon, Ex-Press)
April 21, 2016

In the last century, the natural reproduction of whitefish and Arctic char in several Swiss lakes was adversely affected by high levels of nutrient inputs. So far, stocking measures have been implemented in efforts to support fish populations and maintain yields. The effectiveness of these measures varies according to the particular species and lake. Read more