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

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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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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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 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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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, 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 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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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 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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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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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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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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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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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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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 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 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 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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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 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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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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Simone Kral Head of Communication Tel. +41 58 765 6882 Send Mail

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