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In the fish room at Eawag: A spawning tray is placed into a tank in order to obtain zebrafish eggs for the FET (Fisch Embryo Toxicity) test.
June 13, 2017

Environmental toxicologists at Eawag have developed new methods to allow tests on new chemicals to be carried out without the need for animal experiments. In place of the conventional experiments using adult fish, the team is now working with fish cells and fish embryos. These alternative methods have numerous advantages, and are seeing increasing demand in industry. This has given rise to an Eawag spin-off. We spoke to its founders. Read more

Fig. 1: The scientists investigated water chemistry and biology in reaches upstream and downstream of WWTPs. (Photo: Eawag)
June 1, 2017

Micropollutants enter rivers and streams in effluents discharged from wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs). As well as having adverse impacts on individual species, these substances appear to alter aquatic ecosystem functions, such as litter decomposition. This was shown by a research project launched by Eawag in view of the planned upgrade of selected Swiss WWTPs to reduce micropollutant loads. The effects of the first upgrades are already evident.  Read more

On Soppensee (Canton Lucerne) – photo: Eawag
May 9, 2017

Analyses of environmental gases which previously required months of laboratory work can now be carried out rapidly in the field. A group of Eawag scientists have developed a portable mass spectrometer allowing on-site measurements – and a spin-off has been created to commercialize the new system. Read more

Fig. 1: In the laboratory, scientist Tony Merle tests the novel membrane-based process for ozonation of bromide-containing water: ozone gas fed into a glass reactor diffuses into the water through PTFE membranes. Photo: Andres Jordi, Eawag
April 27, 2017

If drinking water or wastewater containing bromide is treated with ozone to remove micropollutants, bromate – a potentially carcinogenic substance – is formed. Eawag scientists have developed a new process which makes it possible to minimize bromate formation during ozonation. This is achieved by transferring ozone to the water in small doses through the pores of PTFE membranes.  Read more

Photo: Eawag / Plancton
April 11, 2017

Although chemical micropollutants are known to affect the ecology of natural waters, it has remained unclear how they do so. An Eawag study has now shown that increasing concentrations of pharmaceuticals and personal care products reduce the diversity of algae in a lake, giving rise to more homogeneous communities with a reduced capacity to adapt to fluctuations in environmental conditions. Read more

Synthetic silver  nanoparticles , magnified by a factor of 100,000 (Eawag, Ralph Kägi)
April 6, 2017

Over the past five years, 23 Swiss research groups have been investigating the behaviour of synthetic nanomaterials. Today the steering Committee and project leaders present their findings and a synthesis in a press conference at Bern. One of the main aims of National Research Programme 64 was to assess the risks they pose for human health and the environment.  Read more

Photo: Markus Zeh
April 4, 2017

Small watercourses are contaminated with large numbers of herbicides, fungicides and insecticides. A study commissioned by the Federal Office for the Environment and published today shows that the legal requirements specified for water quality are not met in any of the five Swiss streams investigated.  Read more

Assessments of the ecotoxicity of pharmaceuticals focus on parent compounds because data on transformation products is generally unavailable. (Photo: Caro/Sorge)
March 14, 2017

Over 8000 pharmaceuticals, with more than 3000 active substances, are currently authorized in Switzerland. Transformation products – arising from biological and chemical degradation processes – can sometimes be more toxic to aquatic organisms than the parent compounds; they may also be problematic as a result of their higher mobility.  Read more

Sediment was retrieved with a Multicorer to allow for a detailed analysis of sediment biogeochemistry and its inhabitants along a transect of oxygen concentrations. (© R. North, Eawag, Switzerland)
February 10, 2017

Periodic oscillations of bottom-water oxygen concentrations can alter benthic communities and carbon storage for decades, reveals a new study published in Science Advances. This is particularly relevant as low oxygen conditions are on the rise in the world’s oceans. Read more

Main switch of the ozone generator at Neugut WWTP. Foto: Flurin Bertschinger/Ex-Press
December 1, 2016

In Switzerland, even though levels of antibiotic use in medical and veterinary applications are comparatively low, the prevalence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria is increasing. These bacteria can also enter water systems via wastewater treatment plants. Read more