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.


April 3, 2020

Researchers want to make use of the fact that coronaviruses excreted by infected individuals can be found in wastewater. If the viruses can be detected successfully, this may provide a much faster way of spotting a wave of infections than via testing of symptomatic individuals. To find out more, we interviewed Eawag researcher Christoph Ort.

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March 31, 2020

Using a simple but ingenious strategy, a research team has successfully demonstrated how water quality downstream of wastewater treatment plants is influenced by a single pharmaceutical manufacturing site: as variations in the concentrations of compounds over time are dependent on production cycles, it is possible to distinguish between industrial and household emissions – even a long way downstream.

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16. - 17.06.​2020,
Eawag Dübendorf
9.00 am
Swiss Tech Convention Center Lausanne

Scientific publications

Liu, S.; Salhi, E.; Huang, W.; Diao, K.; von Gunten, U. (2019) Kinetic and mechanistic aspects of selenite oxidation by chlorine, bromine, monochloramine, ozone, permanganate, and hydrogen peroxide, Water Research, 164, 114876 (9 pp.), doi:10.1016/j.watres.2019.114876, Institutional Repository
Canonica, S.; Schönenberger, U. (2019) Inhibitory effect of dissolved organic matter on the transformation of selected anilines and sulfonamide antibiotics induced by the sulfate radical, Environmental Science and Technology, 53(20), 11783-11791, doi:10.1021/acs.est.9b04105, Institutional Repository
Suess, E.; Aemisegger, F.; Sonke, J. E.; Sprenger, M.; Wernli, H.; Winkel, L. H. E. (2019) Marine versus continental sources of iodine and selenium in rainfall at two European high-altitude locations, Environmental Science and Technology, 53(4), 1905-1917, doi:10.1021/acs.est.8b05533, Institutional Repository
Ossola, R.; Tolu, J.; Clerc, B.; Erickson, P. R.; Winkel, L. H. E.; McNeill, K. (2019) Photochemical production of sulfate and methanesulfonic acid from dissolved organic sulfur, Environmental Science and Technology, 53, 13191-13200, doi:10.1021/acs.est.9b04721, Institutional Repository
Leresche, F.; McKay, G.; Kurtz, T.; von Gunten, U.; Canonica, S.; Rosario-Ortiz, F. L. (2019) Effects of ozone on the photochemical and photophysical properties of dissolved organic matter, Environmental Science and Technology, 53(10), 5622-5632, doi:10.1021/acs.est.8b06410, Institutional Repository
To the library
Kiefer, K.; Müller, A.; Singer, H.; Hollender, J.; Reinhardt, M. (2019) Pflanzenschutzmittel-Metaboliten im Grundwasser. Ergebnisse aus der NAQUA-Pilotstudie "Screening", Aqua & Gas, 99(11), 14-23, Institutional Repository

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