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Sampling at the Werdhölzli treatment plant in Zurich. (Photo: Eawag, Elke Suess)
October 10, 2017

A study just published by Eawag scientists shows that gold and silver each amounting to around CHF 1.5 million a year are lost via effluents and sludge from wastewater treatment plants in Switzerland. The concentrations measured do not pose risks to the environment – and recycling would not be economically worthwhile. However, the study also produced surprising findings on other trace elements in wastewater, including rare earth metals such as gadolinium and the heavy metal niobium. Read more

The network of Swiss water forums, which frequently take the form of working groups or subcommittees within larger associations. (Graphic: Fischer et al.)
October 9, 2017

A study by Eawag environmental social scientists has identified a total of 23 forums in Switzerland concerned with water-related issues, such as the Swiss Water Management Association (SWV), Water Agenda 21, the Swiss Water Association (VSA) and the Swiss Gas and Water Industry Association (SVGW).  Read more

Collection of water samples from Lake Cadagno (canton of Ticino, 1920 m asl). (Photo: Eawag, Helmut Bürgmann)
October 5, 2017

Single-celled bacteria are capable of mixing water layers in lakes – not directly, by movement of their flagella, but by accumulating locally and thus increasing water density. The heavier water then sinks, creating circular currents. Researchers have now observed this process for the first time not just in the laboratory, but in a natural water body – Lake Cadagno (canton of Ticino). Read more

Jörg Rieckermann awarded with “Mid-term Career Achievement Award” (Photo: ICUD 2017)
October 4, 2017

Jörg Rieckermann, group leader within Eawag’s Urban Water Management department, was awarded with the “Mid-term Career Achievement Award” during this year’s International Conference on Urban Drainage (ICUD) in Prague. Every three years, the Joint Committee on Urban Drainage (JCUD) recognizes outstanding achievements of professionals in the field of urban drainage by bestowing this career achievement award. Read more

Fig.1: Scientists use electro-fishing to catch trout for their experiments. Photo: Petra Nobs, Eawag
October 3, 2017

Trout that live in stable ecosystems divide the prey spectrum among themselves and develop into specialists. In streams with instable food supply, however, the trout become generalists. Sticklebacks from different evolutionary lineages alter their environment by their feeding habits. This is deleterious to their descendants except they are hybrids. Understanding the interaction between species and environment is important for the effective protection of biodiversity.  Read more

Gabriele Mayer (Photo: Raoul Schaffner, Eawag)
October 2, 2017

At a meeting held on 28 September, the ETH Board elected Gabriele Mayer, Head of the Finance and Personnel Departments, as the latest new member of the Eawag Directorate. In this capacity, Gabriele Mayer will be representing Eawag in the areas of compliance, corporate governance and support. She takes up her new role on 1st October 2017. Read more

Antifouling treatment protects submerged surfaces from attachment of unwanted organisms. Photo: Limnomar, CC-BY-SA 4.0
September 27, 2017

In order to protect ship hulls and other surfaces exposed to water from algae, molluscs and crustaceans, they are coated with so-called antifouling biocides. Such biocides do not only protect the surfaces, however, but are often leached into the environment and can harm other life forms.  Read more

The Lago di Luzzone dam. (Photo: Joujou, Pixelio.de)
September 13, 2017

In line with the results of the recent referendum on the revised Energy Act, a representative survey conducted by Eawag environmental economists found that 78 per cent of the Swiss population support the phase-out of nuclear power. Read more

September 12, 2017

Conversion of organic waste into valuable products is becoming more widespread, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. The treatment of waste by larvae of the black soldier fly (BSF) has especially raised much attention in recent years.  Despite these advances, a significant need existed for guidelines on how to set up and operate a commercially viable treatment facility. The Black Soldier Fly Biowaste Processing: A Step-by-Step Guide published in July 2017 summarises the results of ten years of research and development in this field at Eawag and imparts valuable know-how through practical advice and instructions. Read more

Coenonympha hero, Vladimir Sazonov/Shutterstock.com
September 8, 2017

Imported plants, which proliferate widely along bodies of water, for example, are a threat to biodiversity. Based on data from biodiversity monitoring, the WSL, Eawag and the Helmholz Centre for Environmental Research in Halle investigated what influence 31 invasive neophytes have on butterflies in Switzerland.  Read more