News - Current Eawag contributions to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

June 13, 2024

June 13, 2024An Eawag project is investigating how borehole thermal energy storage (BTES) affects the surrounding soil, the groundwater and the microorganisms living in it.

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June 6, 2024

June 6, 2024Researchers at Eawag have analysed wastewater for antibiotic-resistant coliform bacteria. Monitoring wastewater can help to observe trends and regional differences, independent of the actual cases of illness.

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June 5, 2024

June 5, 2024The Aquascope underwater camera has been installed in Lake Zug. It is the second permanent measuring station for plankton in Swiss water bodies.

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May 17, 2024

May 17, 2024Two international conferences are currently being held at Eawag in Dübendorf: the Global WASH Cluster Meeting and the Emergency Environmental Health Forum. Both are aimed at strengthening and focusing collaboration and international efforts on the topics of water, sanitation and hygiene in a humanitarian context.

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May 16, 2024

May 16, 2024Number, size, surroundings and water level: for the first time, there are quantitative scientific recommendations when it comes to the development of new ecological infrastructures for amphibian conservation. A team of researchers from Eawag, WSL and info fauna karch has analysed the optimal conditions for life between water and land. 

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May 15, 2024

May 15, 2024The Swiss Water Association (VSA), Eawag and Hunziker Betatech AG HBT recognise water as a public good and a human right, commit to tap water and become a Blue Community. At the same time, Blue Community Switzerland is joining forces with the Solidarit'eau Suisse network and utilising synergies. The VSA now runs the Blue Community Switzerland office together with partners.

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May 7, 2024

May 7, 2024This collaborative book from Eawag and WSL presents excursions through eight Swiss blue-green habitats. 

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May 6, 2024

May 6, 2024A survey of 99 small Swiss streams reveals that the majority of the studied streams have significant deficits in their ecological condition and can only fulfil their function as a habitat for animals to a limited extent. Insect larvae and other small animals that react sensitively to pesticides are missing in over 70% of the streams examined. Statistical analyses indicate that these aquatic organisms are particularly impacted when the structure and morphology of the stream bed has been altered or if the proportion of agricultural land in the catchment area is high.

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April 22, 2024

April 22, 2024Lake trout migrate between different habitats many times over their lives. This helps them grow larger and have more offspring than sedentary trout. However, it also exposes them to dangers – both natural risks and from human intervention in their habitats. To be able to protect them better, researchers from Eawag are investigating the variety and ecological differences of lake trout as part of a nationwide research project in Switzerland.

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April 4, 2024

April 4, 2024Invasive species influence biodiversity across larger spatial extents than previously thought. In a recently published study, researchers from Eawag and the University of Zurich show that the impacts of invasive species extend far beyond the ecosystems they invade and that three mechanisms are primarily responsible for this. These findings are of great importance for the management of ecosystems.

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April 3, 2024

April 3, 2024Eawag and the Ecotox Centre welcome a total revision of the Plant Protection Products Ordinance (PPPO). However, the two institutes are calling for improvements on important points, such as the adoption of EU authorisations or the precautionary principle. The ordinance must ensure that other regulations such as the Water Protection or the Environmental Protection Act are not undermined.

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March 22, 2024

March 22, 2024Eawag welcomes the planned revision of the Epidemics Act as part of the public consultation process. The amendments will improve cooperation between all stakeholders in order to protect the population even better against transmissible diseases and antibiotic resistance. The opinion of the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology particularly emphasises the holistic approach, which includes human, animal and environmental health.

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March 21, 2024

March 21, 2024Two new Swiss postage stamps, created with the support of Eawag, focus attention on the endangered biodiversity in Swiss water bodies.

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March 14, 2024

March 14, 2024Communities in water and on land are responding similarly to climate change. One surprising exception may be the plankton.

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March 11, 2024

March 11, 2024In Fehraltorf in Zurich Oberland, Eawag and the ETH Zurich have set up a globally unique field laboratory for wastewater research.

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March 5, 2024

March 5, 2024The development of Swiss wastewater treatment is ongoing. Eawag studies now show that there is also potential for improvement in the case of emissions from chemical and pharmaceutical plants – both at wastewater treatment plants and within industrial facilities.

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February 29, 2024

February 29, 2024The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is including Eawag as a non-state partner of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC).

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December 8, 2023

December 8, 2023Legionella always interact with other organisms. Eawag researchers have characterised microbial communities and analysed their relationship to Legionella.

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December 1, 2023

December 1, 2023A team of seven current and former Eawag researchers will receive the Swiss Chemical Society’s Sandmeyer Prize in 2024 for the development of advanced wastewater treatment for the degradation of micropollutants using ozone. And the most amazing thing is: Just about 15 years have passed between basic research and large-scale technical implementation. This incredible timetable was only possible thanks to the wealth of knowledge already available at Eawag and the fact that interdisciplinary collaboration is a matter of course at the Swiss aquatic research institute.

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November 30, 2023

November 30, 2023This research project explores vermifiltration as an alternative method for wastewater treatment. The aim is to fill knowledge gaps.

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November 21, 2023

November 21, 2023On ETH Day, Charlotte Bopp was honoured with the Otto Jaag Water Protection Prize for her dissertation. In January, she will also receive the ETH Medal for her work.

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November 16, 2023

November 16, 2023A comparison of three Swiss lakes with the Great Lakes of North America show that the quagga mussel is spreading with a similar dynamic.

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November 9, 2023

November 9, 2023Over the next 20 years, Austria and Switzerland will be investing more than CHF 1.4 billion in flood protection and ecological enhancement measures on the Alpine Rhine. As well as protecting the Rhine valley against flooding, the aim is to promote careful management of groundwater resources. With a new method, scientists from Eawag and the University of Neuchâtel are providing support for International Rhine Regulation planners.

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October 19, 2023

October 19, 2023The mandate for the “Water Quality” and “Process Engineering Micropollutants” platforms supported by Eawag, FOEN and VSA has been extended by an additional four years.

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October 17, 2023

October 17, 2023The guidelines of the WHO list only four substances produced by cyanobacteria. This is a small fraction of all the metabolites that can have ecotoxicological effects.

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October 4, 2023

October 4, 2023In just 16,000 years, more than 500 cichlid species, distributed throughout the entire food web, have evolved in Lake Victoria. This explosion of biodiversity was made possible by repeated cycles of fusion and diversification in evolutionary lineages, as researchers from Eawag and the University of Bern have described in the “Science” and “Nature” journals. The results underscore that it is not just species that need protection, but entire “species swarms”.

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September 19, 2023

September 19, 2023During prolonged droughts, the drinking water supply for the affected population is critical. Water filters are of enormous importance in such emergencies to prevent diseases. However, often it is not the distribution of filters that is lacking, but the fact that they are not used consistently in everyday life. Researchers at the Aquatic Research Institute Eawag have analysed the reasons for this in Northern Kenya.

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September 14, 2023

September 14, 2023At today's Eawag Info Day, the Aquatic Research Institute outlined the steps that need to be taken to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

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September 7, 2023

September 7, 2023Timely analyses of the bacterial community in wastewater treatment plants enables changes to be detected and remedied before cleaning performance suffers.

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August 24, 2023

August 24, 2023This can indirectly affect the survival of fish populations and may be one of the reasons for the fish decline we are currently observing in Switzerland.

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August 22, 2023

August 22, 2023Green spaces or trees can mitigate urban heat, but it takes time for the cooling effects to develop. Modelling using satellite data can show how much time is needed.

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August 17, 2023

August 17, 2023The combined sewer system is a great achievement. But the discharge of diluted wastewater into central sewage treatment plants is approaching its limits.

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August 9, 2023

August 9, 2023In the scientific journal Nature, a team including a member of Eawag published a study on the development of biodiversity in European inland waters, based on invertebrates.

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July 14, 2023

July 14, 2023Barbara Jeanne “BJ” Ward received the ETH Medal for her doctoral thesis on predicting the dewatering capacity of faecal sludge in mid-July. The medal honours excellent master and doctoral theses at ETH Zurich each year.

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June 27, 2023

June 27, 2023While the use of pesticides in industrial countries is being questioned more and more critically, less is known about their consequences on human health and the environment in tropical countries. The interdisciplinary project “Pestrop” is now changing this and also shows where the necessary measures need to be taken.

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June 22, 2023

June 22, 2023CO2 emissions from heterotrophic respiration could increase by 40% by the end of the century.

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June 7, 2023

June 7, 2023Nutrient changes, invasive species and climate change have a major impact on the ecosystem of Lake Constance. This is the conclusion of a large-scale project conducted by seven institutions in Switzerland, Germany and Austria. At the close of the project, the results will be presented at two events.

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May 30, 2023

May 30, 2023Trainees from Eawag’s analytical and training laboratory assist in the analysis of a wide variety of water samples. A prominent example is the National River Monitoring and Survey Programme (NADUF). In a video, we take a look behind the scenes of the laboratory and show its role for the NADUF programme.

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May 25, 2023

May 25, 2023At the recent joint 21st AfWASA International Congress and Exhibition and 7th Conference on Faecal Sludge Management (FSM7), Eawag signed a Memorandum of Understanding agreement with the African Water and Sanitation Association. The two conferences took place under one roof in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.

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May 23, 2023

May 23, 2023On Saturday, 20 May, the 18th Biennale of Architecture in Venice opened its doors. In the German pavilion, which focuses on building in existing contexts and the recycling economy, also the Nutrient Harvester developed at Eawag is demonstrated. It processes the urine from two on-site dry separation toilets into fertiliser.

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May 16, 2023

May 16, 2023Container-based sanitation has the potential to generate carbon credits through avoided greenhouse gas emissions. Eawag, the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, worked on developing a draft methodology to quantify these emission savings.

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May 9, 2023

May 9, 2023Environmental engineer Wenzel Gruber and microbiologist Robert Niederdorfer – both Eawag postdocs – founded the spin-off Upwater together with two other partners at the beginning of November 2022. It offers measurements for wastewater treatment plants to support them in reducing process instabilities, greenhouse gas emissions as well as energy consumption.

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May 8, 2023

May 8, 2023When glaciers retreat, the habitats for cold-water organisms also change. Researchers have now modelled where refuges that are vital for biodiversity in glacial rivers will remain in the future.

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May 5, 2023

May 5, 2023Chlorination protects safe water from recontamination after transport and storage. Eawag engineers developed and tested two types of chlorinators.

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May 3, 2023

May 3, 2023An Eawag study shows that a large variety of living organisms leave their DNA traces in groundwater – which also depends on the land use in the catchment area. In future, these biological parameters could be used to assess groundwater quality.

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April 20, 2023

April 20, 2023In urban India, rising water scarcity and increasing pressure on water supply utilities have prompted the use of treated wastewater as an alternative source. A study of Eawag together with Indian partners explains how the use of sensors and automated chlorination can improve microbial water quality in on-site water reuse systems for increased user safety.

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April 13, 2023

April 13, 2023Mining repeatedly causes water pollution. In the Global South, polluters often get away with it because the waters are seldom monitored. Satellite data can provide evidence of the origin, spread and extent of environmental disasters.

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April 11, 2023

April 11, 2023Nitrous oxide is one of the main greenhouse gases and also contributes to the destruction of the ozone layer. One of the places where it is released is in wastewater treatment plants. A study has now investigated how much of this is due to the treatment of sludge liquid, which is to be expanded over the next few years.

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March 28, 2023

March 28, 2023In a survey of Swiss rivers and streams, more than 50 different fish species were recorded. For the first time, more than one species was also found in the case of smaller types of fish such as the bullhead.

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March 27, 2023

March 27, 2023A forest is crucial for life in streams, particularly in the catchment area and in the headwaters. This effect is especially significant in the case of sensitive species.

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March 23, 2023

March 23, 2023Thanks to a unique data set from lakes, Eawag has succeeded in determining how plankton networks respond to climate change and phosphate levels.

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March 17, 2023

March 17, 2023The UN Water Conference is an urgent appeal to the global community to act on Sustainable Development Goal 6 - Clean Water and Sanitation. Eawag is willing to make its contribution and presents new approaches such as the Urban Water Flow Diagram, which improves water management in cities.

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March 16, 2023

March 16, 2023Black Soldier Flies and the transformation of organic waste into marketable products has been a main research area of the Municipal Solid Waste Management group at Eawag for more than 12 years. Now, the Sustainable Waste-based Insect Farming Technologies project has received funding from the Swiss National Science Foundation and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.

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March 6, 2023

March 6, 2023Researchers have for the first time estimated how probable the accidental release of nanomaterials will be in the future.

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March 2, 2023

March 2, 2023The updated Red List of fish documents a further endangerment. Prof. Ole Seehausen explains why.

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February 27, 2023

February 27, 2023Where is there still untapped potential in the use of water bodies for energy generation and what are the associated risks for water systems?

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February 21, 2023

February 21, 2023Wastewater treatment plants can do more than just wastewater treatment. In the future, they should also recover resources. One approach that researchers at Eawag are pursuing is the conversion of the organic carbon contained in wastewater into bioplastics with the help of bacteria.

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February 16, 2023

February 16, 2023A new “Theory of Change” shows which psychological factors influence the use of decentralised water treatment technologies and which measures can support their introduction.

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February 2, 2023

February 2, 2023Biologists at Eawag have identified ten species of whitefish in the lakes of the Reuss river system. Of these, seven have been described as distinct species for the first time – although in two cases this required inspection of specimens from historical collections, since eutrophication of lakes in the 20th century also led to the extinction of fish species in Central Switzerland.

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January 27, 2023

January 27, 2023Switzerland's groundwater is home to a multitude of hitherto unknown organisms. An Eawag research project is shining a light into the darkness and revealing this habitat’s exceptional biodiversity.

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January 23, 2023

January 23, 2023Too much nitrogen enters many water bodies. The anammox process co-developed by Eawag can contribute to reducing outputs from wastewater treatment plants.

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January 17, 2023

January 17, 2023A new integrative approach to biodiversity research shows how ecosystems on land and in freshwaters can be better protected by considering fundamental ecological processes.

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January 10, 2023

January 10, 2023Eawag researcher and EPFL professor, Urs von Gunten has been awarded a prize for outstanding services by the journal Environmental Science and Technology (ES&T).

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January 9, 2023

January 9, 2023The genetic diversity of populations should decrease as they expand across space – but this is not the case with bacteria. Fungi play a role here.

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December 15, 2022

December 15, 2022Work is currently underway in Montreal at the UN Biodiversity Conference (COP 15) to negotiate a framework agreement to preserve biodiversity. In addition to pesticides, nutrients and plastic waste, certain other chemicals ought to be restricted in their production and use, or replaced by less problematic substances, according to a recommendation by a group of scientists, including an environmental toxicologist from Eawag.

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December 13, 2022

December 13, 2022The Aqua Urbanica symposium, co-organised by Eawag, explored the question of what is needed to implement the sponge city concept. With the help of this concept, cities should be able to mitigate the consequences of climate change.

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December 6, 2022

December 6, 2022Currently, the first Swiss wastewater treatment plants are being upgraded with an additional treatment stage for the removal of micropollutants using granulated activated carbon (GAC), including the WWTP at Muri. Eawag provided technical support for the design of the installation and is also investigating unresolved issues.

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December 2, 2022

December 2, 2022How can the use of scientific knowledge be promoted in policy and practice to make plant protection more sustainable?

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November 24, 2022

November 24, 2022Together with the Canton of St. Gallen, Eawag has been investigating the impact of the expansion of the wastewater treatment plant at Flawil to include a stage for the removal of micropollutants on water quality in the River Glatt. Initial results now show a very positive picture.

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November 22, 2022

November 22, 2022New technologies in the water sector can contribute to the flexible and sustainable development of urban water management and the sustainable utilisation of water as a resource. In a recent article in the journal Aqua & Gas, a team of researchers from the aquatic research institute Eawag shows what opportunities and risks are associated with this.

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November 21, 2022

November 21, 2022Eawag researchers Wenzel Gruber and Urs Schönenberger have won this year's Otto Jaag Water Protection Prize for their dissertations. Reducing emissions of the climate-damaging nitrous oxide from wastewater treatment plants and reducing the leaching of pesticides from drainage systems are the topics.

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November 17, 2022

November 17, 2022No tiger duck and no football club - the formula "yellow-black-grey" refers to the separation of wastewater streams at their source, i.e. at the toilet, washbasin or shower. This opens up new possibilities and saves resources. On the occasion of World Toilet Day on 19 November, a series of Eawag fact sheets shows how this can be done.

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November 15, 2022

November 15, 2022Researchers at Eawag recommend setting up a monitoring system for antibiotic resistance in the synthesis report of the National Research Programme NRP 72 Antimicrobial resistance, similar to the wastewater monitoring for Sars-CoV-2.

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October 24, 2022

October 24, 2022Researchers at ETH Zurich and Eawag have developed an approach to accurately record and fully track the biodegradation of plastics in soils.  

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October 18, 2022

October 18, 2022In many regions of the world, groundwater is contaminated with arsenic of natural origin. The harmful substance can be filtered out of water with the help of iron. Eawag researchers have for the first time made visible exactly what happens in this process in a new type of experimental set-up.

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October 7, 2022

October 7, 2022A high fraction of the endemic biodiversity of the Alps is very old. The endemics – species found only in a confined area – have developed over the past millions of years during the cycles of glacial and interglacial periods or even before these cycles began. Fish, however, are an exception: most endemic fish species emerged only after the end of the last ice age about 15,000 years ago.

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September 27, 2022

September 27, 2022Janet Hering, Director of the aquatic research institute Eawag, signed a cooperation agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Monday 26 September 2022. The cooperation between Eawag and the IAEA should help to further advance groundwater research and support the sustainable utilisation of groundwater resources.

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September 23, 2022

September 23, 2022Insects that live entirely or partly in freshwater have a much lower proportion of invasive species than insects that live on land. This is shown in a study by the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL in collaboration with the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology Eawag and an international team of researchers.

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September 22, 2022

September 22, 2022The smallest of all plastic particles have remained largely unexplored until now, because they could not be detected in the environment. Now researchers at Eawag show: Nanoplastics stick to slimy biofilms, which can for example be found on stones in streams or rivers. When freshwater snails feed on the slime, the nanoplastics are taken up.

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September 16, 2022

September 16, 2022The “Water Wall” developed by Eawag researchers recycles handwashing and toilet flushing water in a closed cycle and can therefore be used in regions with scarce water resources or those without water and wastewater networks. Now the project has been awarded the Mülheim Water Award.

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September 1, 2022

September 1, 2022For a long time professional fishermen have known that there is not just one whitefish species in Switzerland, but a whole range of species each with their own specialization and local name. Researchers have now analysed the entire genome of the various whitefish and shown how specialists have all developed independently of each other in each lake region.

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August 24, 2022

August 24, 2022Of over a thousand lakes studied worldwide, about one in ten shows strange behaviour. In general, there is an increasing tendency for aquatic ecosystems to tip over. The ecological stability of lakes is decreasing, especially in regions with low GDP and large human populations.

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August 11, 2022

August 11, 2022As an additive in toothpaste, it protects our teeth from decay. But when fluoride occurs in nature in larger quantities and accumulates in groundwater, it can become a hazard for our health. For the first time, Eawag scientists have produced a detailed map of global fluoride contamination in groundwater and shown which regions of the world are particularly affected.

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August 9, 2022

August 9, 2022Throughout Switzerland, infections with bacteria of the genus Legionella are increasing significantly. Researchers at Eawag have now outlined how the growth of these microbial inhabitants of drinking water systems could be curbed with the help of other organisms.

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August 4, 2022

August 4, 202225 years ago, urine-diverting toilets were no more than an idea, challenging the central paradigm of wastewater treatment plants. Since then, however, modular water technologies have become increasingly important. Using a new method, scientists at Eawag have mapped the dynamics of this transition.

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July 28, 2022

July 28, 2022Over the last six years, more than 160,000 people around the world have participated in online courses offered by Eawag, thus acquiring valuable knowledge about, for example, sanitation systems or municipal solid waste management.

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July 19, 2022

July 19, 2022Even though industrial wastewater is treated at state-of-the art plants, the sheer variety of synthetic organic compounds from the chemical and pharmaceutical industry which end up in surface waters are seriously underestimated. This is shown by a new study carried out by Eawag and ETH Zurich.

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July 18, 2022

July 18, 2022A study published today in Nature Microbiology highlights the great advantage of wastewater monitoring as being rapid, unbiased and cost-effective: the detection of genomic variants of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater offers an early alert and can be based on fewer samples as compared to clinical samples. The bioinformatics tool developed by the groups of Niko Beerenwinkel and Tanja Stadler (ETH, Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering) in collaboration with Eawag and EPFL identifies variants of concern even at low abundance.

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July 18, 2022

July 18, 2022As part of a new national research programme that aims to replace animal experiments in research, the National Science Foundation is supporting a project at Eawag. This opens up new possibilities for determining the toxicity of chemical substances based solely on tests with cultured cells and computer models. Animal experiments could thus be replaced.

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June 28, 2022

June 28, 2022Africa is home to a large part of the world's biodiversity. Many species are native only to this continent. So far, the genome of only a tiny proportion of them has been decoded, but this is an important prerequisite for their protection. The large-scale African BioGenome Project, in which Eawag researchers are also involved, now aims to change this.

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June 27, 2022

June 27, 2022A facility with experimental ponds for field trials is located on the Eawag site in Dübendorf. The current experiment is investigating how the water lily aphid - a herbivore that lives both on land and on water - influences the development of the biocoenosis in water bodies.

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June 23, 2022

June 23, 2022Lake Greifensee is almost on Eawag’s “doorstep” and is therefore used extensively for its water research. Last Friday, interested visitors learned about how the researchers work and what they have discovered about the lake during an enjoyable boat trip. There will be another opportunity for this in autumn.

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June 22, 2022

June 22, 2022Using DNA data, researchers from ETH and Eawag have examined seawater to find not only new species of bacteria, but also previously unknown natural products that may one day prove beneficial as they report today in the journal Nature.

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June 16, 2022

June 16, 2022It is no secret that climate change has a serious impact on the quality and ecology of aquatic environments. Researchers at Eawag have revealed that human responses to climate change are just as impactful on our water systems – for example, in the areas of agriculture and hydropower.

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June 14, 2022

June 14, 2022In the future, drones could open up new possibilities for taking water samples fully automatically in remote areas. To this end, Eawag researchers tested a drone model developed at Empa and Imperial College.

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June 9, 2022

June 9, 2022Eawag’s research is usually reported on in scientific papers and media articles. Rather unusual, however, is the form of a comic. Illustrator Celine Künzle took a close-up look at Eawag’s research with faeces and recorded her impressions in the recently-published comic report.

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June 2, 2022

June 2, 2022Dominik Scheibler has been Eawag’s Environmental representative since 2021. On the occasion of Environmental Day on June 5, he tells us where Eawag stands in the field of the environment and energy, what the coronavirus could change and what the next milestones are, for example in the context of renewable heat supply.

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May 31, 2022

May 31, 2022The biologically active, slow-flow sand filters of lake water treatment would remove nanoplastics from the raw water very efficiently. This was shown both in the laboratory and in larger, realistic tests and modelling.

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May 13, 2022

May 13, 2022As of 1 May 2022, Andrin Krähenbühl will head the FIBER fisheries advisory service at the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag) in Kastanienbaum. The biologist and angler brings with him experience from research and association work. And he is convinced that it serves everyone if the institutions work well together: fisheries, research and biodiversity.

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May 9, 2022

May 9, 2022Oliver Schilling is newly appointed Professor of Hydrogeology at the University of Basel, where he is setting up a research group that is also associated with the Eawag Water Resources and Drinking Water Department in Dübendorf. This dual affiliation is perfect, says Schilling.

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May 5, 2022

May 5, 2022Eawag researchers Sabine Hoffmann, Kai Udert and Lisa Deutsch are committed to a sanitation and nutrient transformation. They use an example to explain why a transformation is needed and why collaboration with politicians in particular is a challenge.

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May 4, 2022

May 4, 2022What has been a purification process in wastewater treatment plants for decades can also be used decentrally or semi-centrally as a recycling process for nutrients. Early separation of "solid and liquid" plays a key role here. It allows for flexible solutions in terms of process technology, especially in the treatment of urine. New studies also show that the processes can be used not only for human urine, but also for that of cows or pigs.

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April 14, 2022

April 14, 2022Chlorination of drinking water reduces infections – and it changes the composition of the intestinal flora of young children, as a study published today in “Nature Microbiology” shows. The results indicate that the diversity of the intestinal flora isn’t reduced and bacteria associated with gut health are increased.

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April 11, 2022

April 11, 2022Monitoring freshwater ecosystems by means of environmental DNA methods offers new opportunities for detecting invasive species. An Eawag study has shown that an invasive jellyfish is more widespread in Switzerland than previously thought.

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March 29, 2022

March 29, 2022Artificial floods mimick natural flows to mobilise and transport sediment downstream, reshape the river and reinstate important habitats for native aquatic insects and fish. Improved outcomes can occur when these artificial floods converge with natural flows and sediment delivery from unregulated tributary streams further down the valley.

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March 24, 2022

March 24, 2022New research findings, and a resulting fact sheet, provide insights into the problematic spread of the invasive quagga mussel in Switzerland. The authors of the fact sheet are concerned that the aggressive spread of this mussel species will have a substantial detrimental effect on lake ecosystems.

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March 23, 2022

March 23, 2022Among aquatic insects in Swiss streams, those species that like it warm and can cope well with pesticide exposure are on the rise. This is shown by a joint study by WSL and Eawag using data from biodiversity monitoring between 2010 and 2019. The results indicate a possible influence of climate change.

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March 22, 2022

March 22, 2022For World Water Day 2022, the United Nations is focusing on our groundwater – an invisible treasure that it wants to bring into the social and political spotlight. For Eawag, groundwater as a resource has long been one of its most important research priorities. An overview.

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March 18, 2022

March 18, 2022What is the state of groundwater in Switzerland? On World Water Day, we discussed this with hydrogeologist Christian Moeck, who, as an employee of the Eawag Hydrogeology Research Group, deals with the pressing challenges surrounding groundwater and researches how groundwater can be protected as a resource.

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March 7, 2022

March 7, 2022Researchers decipher how the microbial inhabitants of sewage treatment plants help eliminate intestinal parasites / Article published in ‘Microbiome’.

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March 1, 2022

March 1, 2022The use of lake and river water to generate heat and cold is constantly increasing. The potential is enormous. Nevertheless, negative impacts on aquatic ecosystems must be avoided. A fact sheet from Eawag lists the key points in this regard.

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February 24, 2022

February 24, 2022Nearly a hundred year old tissue samples from Lake Constance have enabled Eawag researchers to compare genetic material of an extinct whitefish species with that of extant co-occurring species. Their investigation showed that fragments of the genome of the extinct species have survived in today’s species. This could potentially facilitate the recolonization of the currently not occupied deep-water habitat.

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February 17, 2022

February 17, 2022Often overlooked until now: symbioses could be a driving force for the emergence of biodiversity. A case where bacteria live in aphids shows that this can even have practical implications for biological pest control.

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February 10, 2022

February 10, 2022Eawag researchers have won a competition organised by Britain’s National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3R). The prize money is awarded for use in research to develop technologies to replace animal testing.

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February 9, 2022

February 9, 2022Wastewater treatment plants are ‘hotspots’ for antibiotic resistance genes and bacteria but sewer overflows exacerbate the problem by disseminating them into rivers. Researchers at Eawag suggest ways to minimise these effects.

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February 8, 2022

February 8, 2022Mining can have serious consequences for nature and the health of the population in countries of the Global South, where environmental laws are often only inconsistently implemented. In Hwange, in western Zimbabwe, people have been fighting water pollution from coal mining for years. But they were powerless against the operators – until doctoral student Désirée Ruppen launched a citizen science project in 2018.

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February 4, 2022

February 4, 2022Those who have just undergone surgery in the hospital, with their weakened immune systems, are easy prey for pathogens that lurk on a wide variety of surfaces. Even careful disinfection can only partially prevent these hospital-acquired infections. One hope in the fight against the pathogenic bacteria are bacteriophages. Eawag researchers were able to show that they improve the removal of pathogens from surfaces, especially in combination with chemical disinfection.

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February 1, 2022

February 1, 2022Scientists from 48 countries initiated the “European Reference Genome Atlas” at the start of 2021. Within this project, around 600 researchers aim to decode the genetic repertoire of all species of the continent by generating reference genomes for the roughly 200,000 eukaryotic species. The hope is to strengthen the foundations for conservation of biodiversity.

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January 28, 2022

January 28, 2022A river with chemically polluted sediments at its bottom is missing a crucial habitat. However, until now there has been no uniform method for monitoring the quality of sediments. On behalf of the Federal Office for the Environment, experts from the Ecotox Centre and Eawag have now developed a proposal for this.

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January 20, 2022

January 20, 2022Switzerland has around 800 municipal wastewater treatment plants. A recent study by Eawag researchers reveals the burden these plants place on the climate, and explores how emissions of climate-damaging nitrous oxide can be reduced.

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December 8, 2021

December 8, 2021It makes sense to study land and water habitats together, according to the initial findings of the Blue-Green Biodiversity initiative.

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November 19, 2021

November 19, 2021Rising temperatures, invasive species and other factors have changed the composition of species in Lake Constance over the last century. Researchers are trying to understand how this could have happened and what it means for the lake.

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November 18, 2021

November 18, 2021A flood causes stress for organisms living in a watercourse. Their survival depends on factors such as whether there are refuge habitats to which they can retreat. Researchers at VAW and Eawag studied how river widening as part of restoration measures improves potential refugia availability. They showed that refugia provision and thereby the protection of biodiversity depends crucially on the supply of bedload.

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November 17, 2021

November 17, 2021The separation toilet save! has won the Design Award Switzerland 2021. This is also a milestone for Tove Larsen. She is a member of the Eawag Directorate and has been researching for almost 30 years how the nutrients in wastewater can be recovered in a useful way. In this interview on the occasion of World Toilet Day 2021, she explains how crucial our handling of wastewater is for climate change and for achieving the SDGs sustainability goals.

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November 17, 2021

November 17, 2021Together with a team of researchers and designers, Kai Udert has designed a toilet system that makes it possible to recycle nutrients from wastewater on-site. As a result, valuable nutrients can be recovered and used as fertilisers so that they no longer end up in lakes and oceans where they do a lot of damage. Now he wants to make the system ready for market together with industry partners.

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November 2, 2021

November 2, 2021Our lakes, rivers and streams are teeming with the smallest creatures, plants and bacteria that are barely visible to the naked eye, if at all. An underwater camera makes it possible to observe and identify the species of these creatures in real time.

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October 29, 2021

October 29, 2021Whether a hydroelectric power plant is built, a pesticide is banned or a moor is placed under protection – a wide variety of political decisions have an impact on biodiversity. But does biodiversity play any role at all in such decisions? Researchers at Eawag and WSL have investigated this question and examined Swiss policy over the past 20 years.

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October 26, 2021

October 26, 2021Microplastics, owing to their chemical properties, can carry micropollutants into a fish’s digestive system where they are subsequently released through the action of its gastric and intestinal fluids. Scientists of EPFL and Eawag, working in association with other research institutes, have studied this process by looking specifically at progesterone – often pointed to as an endocrine disrupter.

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October 14, 2021

October 14, 2021Heatwaves and heavy local rainfall will increase with climate change, pushing traditional urban drainage systems to their limits. These problems can be addressed using the blue-green infrastructure approach. With careful planning, solutions of this kind can also increase biodiversity and improve the quality of urban life.

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October 12, 2021

October 12, 2021Europe has relatively low biodiversity compared to most other continents because many species became extinct during the ice ages. In subterranean ecosystems, however, which were shielded from climatic turbulences, a great diversity of ancient species were able to survive. This is the conclusion of a study on the amphipod genus Niphargus.

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October 5, 2021

October 5, 2021Evolution plays a crucial role in ecosystem tipping points, as shown in two recently published studies by Eawag researchers. If this influence is taken into account, ecosystem collapses can be better predicted in the future. At the same time, the studies reveal how the risk of ecosystem collapse can be reduced and the chances of recovery increased.

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September 30, 2021

September 30, 2021Although the consequences of climate change are becoming more and more visible and tangible, the transition to climate-friendly energy systems is only proceeding slowly. In a field experiment, Eawag and the University of Groningen (NL) investigated what kind of measures could be used to better promote innovations such as heat pumps.

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September 23, 2021

September 23, 2021The "gene scissors" CRISPR/Cas9 can be used to precisely modify genes in order to study their function in an organism. A researcher at Eawag has now succeeded for the first time in establishing the gene scissors for a fish cell line of rainbow trout. This means that, as of now, genetically modified cell lines can be produced. These allow alternatives to ecotoxicological tests on living animals.

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September 15, 2021

September 15, 2021Making decisions about what sanitation infrastructure to implement in emergency and humanitarian crises is challenging. Research on how to support this decision-making has led to the online platform: emersan-compendium.org.

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September 9, 2021

September 9, 2021An Eawag study has shown that it makes good sense to recover domestic energy, for example from warm shower water. The study refutes concerns that this form of heat utilisation could have a negative impact on waste water treatment plants. In fact, utilising the energy closer to its source reduces energy losses in the waste-water system.

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August 17, 2021

August 17, 2021Toxic substances in the environment can harm the nervous system of fish embryos. Now, researchers at Eawag have developed a computer model that helps to better understand how the damage occurs.

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August 5, 2021

August 5, 2021Blue-green algae and other phytoplankton are very important for the proper functioning of aquatic ecosystems. When they accumulate in high quantities, however, they can be harmful to people and animals because some blue-green algae species produce toxic chemicals. For this reason, the aquatic research institute Eawag is currently working on methods to improve the prediction of bloom events.

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July 8, 2021

July 8, 2021Eawag’s practice-oriented courses (known as PEAK) provide training for professionals. Isabelle Schläppi of the PEAK Office looks back over a year marked by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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June 29, 2021

June 29, 2021Groundwater is also an ecosystem, but little is known about the biodiversity underground. Eawag researchers have now documented the diversity of life in Swiss groundwater in a pilot study – and discovered previously unknown species of amphipods in the process. Here they relied on a citizen science approach.

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June 24, 2021

June 24, 2021The OECD gives the green light to the fish cell line assay developed at Eawag. This paves the way for companies and authorities around the world to determine the environmental toxicology of chemicals without having to resort to animal testing.

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June 18, 2021

June 18, 2021Bacteria from an Indian landfill could help eliminate contaminated chemicals. The focus is on pesticides such as lindane or brominated flame retardants, which accumulate in nature and in food chains. Researchers at Eawag and Empa used these bacteria to generate enzymes that can break down these dangerous chemicals.

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June 17, 2021

June 17, 2021Formerly widespread, native crayfish in Switzerland are now highly endangered. With support from Eawag, experts are doing everything they can to preserve the secretive river dwellers.

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June 9, 2021

June 9, 2021With the latest analytical methods, potentially toxic substances can be detected even at very low concentrations. However, the aim of research is not merely to document such contamination but also to understand how it occurs in streams and groundwater, and to propose mitigation measures.

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June 2, 2021

June 2, 2021Microbes self-organise to grow into fascinating and complex patterns. The diversity of these patterns depends on a previously unknown factor, as researchers at Eawag have discovered. This might re-define how we view the concept of microbial biodiversity.

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June 1, 2021

June 1, 2021The Zambezi River Basin in southern Africa is a high-quality waterscape. But current rapid development threatens the waters of the Zambezi, particularly its tributaries. The challenge will be to ensure that mitigation measures keep up with population and economic growth to avoid degradation of water quality degradation.

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May 26, 2021

May 26, 2021The shift from fossil to renewable energy sources is essential for climate mitigation but will also significantly reduce the atmospheric input of the nutrients sulphur and selenium into soils. Sustainable solutions are therefore needed to supply intensively used agricultural soils with sufficient nutrients and to ensure a safe and healthy diet for the world's population.  

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May 21, 2021

May 21, 2021An Eawag researcher has helped to develop a new approach to tracking how river water enters the groundwater. In the test area within the Emmental, the flow time within the aquifer has been shown to be much shorter than previously assumed. This has potential consequences during dry spells.

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April 29, 2021

April 29, 2021Their very small size means that rotaviruses are difficult to filter out of water. But these pathogens are among the leading causes of gastrointestinal infections, especially among children in developing countries. Now, a team of researchers from Empa and Eawag has demonstrated an approach that could make rotaviruses easier to remove in the future.

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March 30, 2021

March 30, 2021Ecotoxicological tests need to be extremely accurate – which often poses challenges in research and practice. Eawag has now developed a computer model that enables even more accurate testing at high throughput; the model is simple, widely applicable and saves resources.

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March 11, 2021

March 11, 2021Rare earth metals such as cerium and gadolinium are increasingly entering wastewater from industry, but also from hospitals. This is shown by Eawag’s investigations at 63 wastewater treatment plants in Switzerland.

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March 9, 2021

March 9, 2021Monitoring of wastewater samples has the potential to provide a further indicator – alongside the number of cases, hospitalisations and deaths – to track the course of the pandemic. With support from the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH), an existing research project is now being expanded from two to six wastewater treatment plants.

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March 3, 2021

March 3, 2021New pharmaceuticals are being launched on the market all the time. It is of course their effectiveness in people’s health that is of central importance here, but at some point, their active ingredients or traces of them wind up in the environment, where they can have negative consequences. A large-scale EU project in which Eawag is also participating is now trying to help ensure that possible environmental impacts of pharmaceuticals are recognised by the pharmaceutical industry and the relevant approval bodies in the early stages of a drug’s development.

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February 23, 2021

February 23, 2021A new fact sheet highlights the opportunities and challenges associated with greywater.

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February 9, 2021

February 9, 2021Beavers are master builders that reshape aquatic landscapes with their dams and lodges. The environments they inhabit experience an increase in the biodiversity of aquatic organisms, for example. Now, for the first time, an Eawag study from the wine-growing region known as “Zürcher Weinland” has shown that this is also true for streams in areas given over largely to agriculture. The rodents could therefore be interesting partners when it comes to enhancing bodies of water.

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February 4, 2021

February 4, 2021Surfaces which are frequently touched by many different people may be contaminated with the coronavirus, but the risk of infection via this route is low. However, regular collection of samples from door handles, buttons or keypads could be useful for monitoring the course of the pandemic.

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January 29, 2021

January 29, 2021For three months, an extended family in South Africa tested the standalone Autarky toilet cubicle. Everyone was very happy with the quiet hideout.

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January 21, 2021

January 21, 2021Legionella in drinking water systems can pose a health risk. But the complexity of the stagnation issue means that a much more nuanced approach is required to manage this risk than has previously been supposed.

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January 6, 2021

January 6, 2021Each year, around 130 kilograms of mercury flow into Swiss wastewater treatment plants, which filter out the lion’s share from the waste water. This is shown by a survey of almost thirty wastewater treatment plants conducted by the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag) and the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN).

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