Pollutants

Ways to reduce pollution

Thousands of chemical substances end up in the aquatic environment, either by direct or indirect means. Some of these chemicals – hormones for example – have an effect on aquatic organisms, with far-reaching consequences. The water treatment plants cannot remove all of the pollutants from the wastewater. Eawag researches amongst other issues how supplementary measures in water treatment plants  affect biodiversity.

News

December 12, 2019

Pesticides in sediments cause adverse effects on benthic organisms. This was shown by a monitoring study conducted by the Ecotox Centre and Eawag on five streams in agricultural areas. Crustaceans were particularly affected. Concentrations of several insecticides, including chlorpyrifos and the pyrethroid cypermethrin, exceeded effect thresholds, indicating impaired sediment quality.

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December 2, 2019

Invertebrates on the beds of water bodies are observed closely, for they serve as indicators for the ecological status of running waters. A new Swiss-wide study by the aquatic research institute Eawag shows which species are especially good indicators, and how the monitoring and management of surface waters can be further improved.

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Scientific publications

Sander, M.; Kohler, H.-P. E.; McNeill, K. (2019) Assessing the environmental transformation of nanoplastic through 13C-labelled polymers, Nature Nanotechnology, 14(4), 301-303, doi:10.1038/s41565-019-0420-3, Institutional Repository
Mutzner, L.; Vermeirssen, E. L. M.; Mangold, S.; Maurer, M.; Scheidegger, A.; Singer, H.; Booij, K.; Ort, C. (2019) Passive samplers to quantify micropollutants in sewer overflows: accumulation behaviour and field validation for short pollution events, Water Research, 160, 350-360, doi:10.1016/j.watres.2019.04.012, Institutional Repository
Kiefer, K.; Müller, A.; Singer, H.; Hollender, J. (2019) New relevant pesticide transformation products in groundwater detected using target and suspect screening for agricultural and urban micropollutants with LC-HRMS, Water Research, 165, 114972 (11 pp.), doi:10.1016/j.watres.2019.114972, Institutional Repository
Fischer, A.; van Wezel, A. P.; Hollender, J.; Cornelissen, E.; Hofman, R.; van der Hoek, J. P. (2019) Development and application of relevance and reliability criteria for water treatment removal efficiencies of chemicals of emerging concern, Water Research, 161, 274-287, doi:10.1016/j.watres.2019.05.088, 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
To the library

Publications for practitioners

Comments on the amendment of the Water Protection Ordinance, 11-2017 [German]

Report: Chemical Pollution in Low-and Middle-Income Countries

Fact sheet: Frequently asked questions about road salting [available German and French]

Micro plastics in the environment
[available German and French]

Fact Sheet: on agricultural pesticides in rivers, lakes and groundwater [available German and French]

Fact Sheet: What’s the difference between monitoring values (EQS) and authorisation values (RAC)? [available German and French]

Selected research projects

EcoImpact is an Eawag-wide interdisciplinary research effort, strongly motivated by the planned modifications of the Swiss wastewater treatment plants.
Comprehensive monitoring of organic trace substances in surface waters is time-consuming and costly. The NAWA SPEZ project delivers data and analyses on the status of water pollution.

Experts

Dr. Carmen Casado-Martinez
  • aquatic ecotoxicology
  • ecotoxicology
  • sediments
Dr. Nathalie Dubois
  • chromatography
  • isotopes
  • surface water
  • sediments
  • biomarker
Prof. Dr. Rik Eggen
  • aquatic ecotoxicology
  • micropollutants
  • surface water
Dr. Benoit Ferrari
  • micropollutants
  • ecotoxicology
Dr. Marion Junghans
  • algae
  • aquatic ecotoxicology
  • micropollutants
  • ecotoxicology
Dr. Ralf Kägi
  • nanoparticles
Dr. Cornelia Kienle
  • aquatic ecotoxicology
  • ecology
  • ecotoxicology
Dr. Etienne Vermeirssen
  • aquatic ecotoxicology
  • ecotoxicology
  • sediments
Dr. Colette vom Berg
  • fish
  • molecular ecotoxicology
Dr. Inge Werner
  • aquatic ecotoxicology
  • molecular ecotoxicology
  • ecotoxicology