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

July 9, 2020

The Verband zum Schutz des Greifensees (VGS) (Association for the Preservation of Lake Greifensee) elected its new Council of Delegates on 25 June 2020. In addition to representatives of all municipalities surrounding the lake, the committee also includes cantonal agencies, farmers, fishermen, sailors and – for the first time – a research representative, with the election of Eawag’s Piet Spaak as an aquatic ecologist.

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June 10, 2020

Thanks to a new instrument, water pollutants can be measured automatically over a period of weeks – directly in the field, rather than in the laboratory. The mobile mass spectrometer is housed in a trailer and can be remotely controlled by smartphone.

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Scientific publications

Xu, J.; Avellan, A.; Li, H.; Liu, X.; Noël, V.; Lou, Z.; Wang, Y.; Kaegi, R.; Henkelman, G.; Lowry, G. V. (2020) Sulfur loading and speciation control the hydrophobicity, electron transfer, reactivity, and selectivity of sulfidized nanoscale zerovalent iron, Advanced Materials, doi:10.1002/adma.201906910, Institutional Repository
Tu, K.; Puértolas, B.; Adobes-Vidal, M.; Wang, Y.; Sun, J.; Traber, J.; Burgert, I.; Pérez-Ramírez, J.; Keplinger, T. (2020) Green synthesis of hierarchical metal-organic framework/wood functional composites with superior mechanical properties, Advanced Science, 7(7), 1902897 (9 pp.), doi:10.1002/advs.201902897, Institutional Repository
Creusot, N.; Casado-Martinez, C.; Chiaia-Hernandez, A.; Kiefer, K.; Ferrari, B. J. D.; Fu, Q.; Munz, N.; Stamm, C.; Tlili, A.; Hollender, J. (2020) Retrospective screening of high-resolution mass spectrometry archived digital samples can improve environmental risk assessment of emerging contaminants: a case study on antifungal azoles, Environment International, 139, 105708 (10 pp.), doi:10.1016/j.envint.2020.105708, Institutional Repository
Geitner, N. K.; Ogilvie Hendren, C.; Cornelis, G.; Kaegi, R.; Lead, J. R.; Lowry, G. V.; Lynch, I.; Nowack, B.; Petersen, E.; Bernhardt, E.; Brown, S.; Chen, W.; de Garidel-Thoron, C.; Hanson, J.; Harper, S.; Jones, K.; von der Kammer, F.; Kennedy, A.; Kidd, J.; Matson, C.; Metcalfe, C. D.; Pedersen, J.; Peijnenburg, W. J. G. M.; Quik, J. T. K.; Rodrigues, S. M.; Rose, J.; Sayre, P.; Simonin, M.; Svendsen, C.; Tanguay, R.; Tefenkji, N.; van Teunenbroek, T.; Thies, G.; Tian, Y.; Rice, J.; Turner, A.; Liu, J.; Unrine, J.; Vance, M.; White, J. C.; Wiesner, M. R. (2020) Harmonizing across environmental nanomaterial testing media for increased comparability of nanomaterial datasets, Environmental Science: Nano, 7(1), 13-36, doi:10.1039/c9en00448c, Institutional Repository
Anliker, S.; Loos, M.; Comte, R.; Ruff, M.; Fenner, K.; Singer, H. (2020) Assessing emissions from pharmaceutical manufacturing based on temporal high-resolution mass spectrometry data, Environmental Science and Technology, 54(7), 4110-4120, doi:10.1021/acs.est.9b07085, 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]

Moschet, C.; Deola, L.; Ruff, M.; Söser, R.; Mühlemann, S.; Altherr, T.; Götz, C.; Wyss, A.; Singer, H.; Rösch, A.; Beck, B.; Daouk, S. (2019) Task-force "Pyrethroiden". Erfolgreiche Zusammenarbeit der Kantone auf der Suche nach toxischen Insektiziden im Gewässer, Aqua & Gas, 99(11), 68-73, Institutional Repository
Rösch, A.; Beck, B.; Hollender, J.; Stamm, C.; Singer, H.; Doppler, T.; Junghans, M. (2019) Geringe Konzentrationen mit grosser Wirkung. Nachweis von Pyrethroid- und Organophosphatinsektiziden in Schweizer Bächen im pg l-1-Bereich, Aqua & Gas, 99(11), 54-66, Institutional Repository
Casado-Martinez, M. C.; Schneeweiss, A.; Thiemann, C.; Dubois, N.; Pintado-Herrera, M.; Lara-Martin, P. A.; Ferrari, B. J. D.; Werner, I. (2019) Écotoxicité des sédiments de ruisseaux. Les pesticides présents dans les sédiments ont des effets sur les organismes benthiques, Aqua & Gas, 99(12), 62-71, Institutional Repository

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

Prof. Dr. Michael Berg
  • inorganic contaminants
  • arsenic
  • geogenic contaminants
  • groundwater
  • surface water
  • drinking water
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
Prof. Dr. Kathrin Fenner
  • biological degradation
  • mass spectrometry
  • micropollutants
  • organic pollutants
Dr. Benoit Ferrari
  • micropollutants
  • ecotoxicology
PD Dr. Thomas Hofstetter
  • isotopes
  • micropollutants
Prof. Dr. Juliane Hollender
  • wastewater
  • biological degradation
Dr. Elisabeth Janssen
  • photochemistry
  • proteomics
  • organic pollutants
  • natural waters
  • analytical chemistry
Dr. Marion Junghans
  • algae
  • aquatic ecotoxicology
  • micropollutants
  • ecotoxicology
Dr. Ralf Kägi
  • nanoparticles
Dr. Cornelia Kienle
  • aquatic ecotoxicology
  • ecology
  • ecotoxicology
Prof. Dr. Kristin Schirmer
  • aquatic ecotoxicology
  • micropollutants
  • molecular ecotoxicology
  • nanoparticles
  • ecotoxicology
  • cellular ecotoxicology
Dr. Martin Schmid
  • modeling
  • surface water
  • hydropower
Heinz Singer
  • surface water
  • organic pollutants
Dr. Christian Stamm
  • micropollutants
Dr. Marc Suter
  • algae
  • chromatography
  • mass spectrometry
  • micropollutants
  • molecular ecotoxicology
  • proteomics
Dr. Etienne Vermeirssen
  • aquatic ecotoxicology
  • ecotoxicology
  • sediments
Dr. Colette vom Berg
  • fish
  • molecular ecotoxicology
Prof. Dr. Bernhard Wehrli
  • river restoration
  • hydrogeology
  • surface water
  • sediments
Dr. Inge Werner
  • aquatic ecotoxicology
  • molecular ecotoxicology
  • ecotoxicology