Drinking Water

Prevention is better than cure

Thanks to the fact that Switzerland’s surface waters have been kept clean, this maxim has to a large extent been upheld. However, the presence of new (harmful) substances allows no room for complacency on this front. Globally, there is an urgent need for cost-effective and energy-efficient water treatment solutions on various scales - all the way through to wastewater recycling.


September 8, 2020

Process Engineer Adriano Joss from Eawag water research institute has been working for many years on wastewater treatment plants and the removal of micropollutants from water. Together with Ralf Kägi, Head of the Eawag Particle Laboratory, he has compiled the current status of knowledge on microplastics. In an interview, he presents the most important findings. We have recently posted detailed information on the website “Microplastics in the environment”.

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May 21, 2020

Many experts describe the health effects of drinking water contaminated with toxic concentrations of arsenic as the greatest mass poisoning in human history. A risk model developed by Eawag researcher Joel Podgorski now shows that up to 220 million people worldwide could be affected.

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Scientific publications

Wallis, I.; Prommer, H.; Berg, M.; Siade, A. J.; Sun, J.; Kipfer, R. (2020) The river-groundwater interface as a hotspot for arsenic release, Nature Geoscience, 13, 288-295, doi:10.1038/s41561-020-0557-6, Institutional Repository
Watts, S.; Julian, T. R.; Maniura-Weber, K.; Graule, T.; Salentinig, S. (2020) Colloidal transformations in MS2 virus particles: driven by pH, influenced by natural organic matter, ACS Nano, 14(2), 1879-1887, doi:10.1021/acsnano.9b08112, Institutional Repository
Rodríguez, E. M.; von Gunten, U. (2020) Generation of hydroxyl radical during chlorination of hydroxyphenols and natural organic matter extracts, Water Research, 177, 115691 (15 pp.), doi:10.1016/j.watres.2020.115691, Institutional Repository
Shin, J.; Lee, Y.; von Gunten, U. (2020) Kinetics of the reaction between hydrogen peroxide and aqueous iodine: implications for technical and natural aquatic systems, Water Research, 179, 115852 (9 pp.), doi:10.1016/j.watres.2020.115852, Institutional Repository
Biswakarma, J.; Kang, K.; Schenkeveld, W. D. C.; Kraemer, S. M.; Hering, J. G.; Hug, S. J. (2020) Linking isotope exchange with Fe(II)-catalyzed dissolution of iron(hydr)oxides in the presence of the bacterial siderophore desferrioxamine-B, Environmental Science and Technology, 54, 768-777, doi:10.1021/acs.est.9b04235, Institutional Repository
To the library

Selected research projects and programs

Inhalation of legionella bacteria – which thrive in warm water – can cause illness: in a new project, an Eawag-led multidisciplinary research team is investigating how the risks associated with these bacteria can best be managed.
An inter- and transdisciplinary strategic research program that strives to develop novel non-gridconnected water and sani- tation systems that can function as comparable alternatives to network-based systems.
This project facilitates the exchange of data, maps and information on geogenic contaminants (focussing on arsenic and fluoride) via the web-based Groundwater Assessment Platform (GAP)


Dr. Silvio Canonica
  • photochemistry
  • drinking water
  • water treatment
Dr. Frederik Hammes
  • drinking water
  • water treatment
  • sensors
  • Flow cytometry
  • Biological filtration
Prof. Dr. Janet Hering
  • biogeochemistry
  • sustainable water management
  • water treatment
  • water quality
Dr. Stephan Hug
  • arsenic
  • solid-water interfaces
  • groundwater
  • spectroscopic methods
Dr. Tim Julian
  • microbes
  • urban sanitation
Prof. Dr. Rolf Kipfer
  • noble gases
  • isotopes
Prof. Dr. Mario Schirmer
  • groundwater
  • hydrogeology
  • modeling
  • surface water
Dr. Andreas Voegelin
  • wastewater
  • arsenic
  • solid-water interfaces
  • geogenic contaminants
  • nanoparticles
  • spectroscopic methods
  • water treatment
Prof. Dr. Urs Von Gunten
  • advanced oxidation processes
  • ozonation
  • drinking water
  • water treatment
Prof. Dr. Lenny Winkel
  • inorganic contaminants
  • arsenic
  • groundwater
  • organic pollutants
  • sediments
  • selenium