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

January 19, 2021

The Ecotox Centre presents a new strategy to assess the quality of sediments. Sediments are of great significance in water protection.

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January 6, 2021

Each 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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Scientific publications

Podgorski, J.; Berg, M. (2020) Global threat of arsenic in groundwater, Science, 368(6493), 845-850, doi:10.1126/science.aba1510, Institutional Repository
Svendsen, C.; Walker, L. A.; Matzke, M.; Lahive, E.; Harrison, S.; Crossley, A.; Park, B.; Lofts, S.; Lynch, I.; Vázquez-Campos, S.; Kaegi, R.; Gogos, A.; Asbach, C.; Cornelis, G.; von der Kammer, F.; van den Brink, N. W.; Mays, C.; Spurgeon, D. J. (2020) Key principles and operational practices for improved nanotechnology environmental exposure assessment, Nature Nanotechnology, 15, 731-742, doi:10.1038/s41565-020-0742-1, Institutional Repository
Wigger, H.; Kägi, R.; Wiesner, M.; Nowack, B. (2020) Exposure and possible risks of engineered nanomaterials in the environment - current knowledge and directions for the future, Reviews of Geophysics, 58(4), e2020RG000710 (25 pp.), doi:10.1029/2020RG000710, Institutional Repository
Knappett, P. S. K.; Li, Y.; Loza, I.; Hernandez, H.; Avilés, M.; Haaf, D.; Majumder, S.; Huang, Y.; Lynch, B.; Piña, V.; Wang, J.; Winkel, L.; Mahlknecht, J.; Datta, S.; Thurston, W.; Terrell, D.; Nordstrom, D. K. (2020) Rising arsenic concentrations from dewatering a geothermally influenced aquifer in central Mexico, Water Research, 185, 116257 (16 pp.), doi:10.1016/j.watres.2020.116257, Institutional Repository
Schuwirth, N. (2020) Towards an integrated surface water quality assessment: aggregation over multiple pollutants and time, Water Research, 186, 116330 (11 pp.), doi:10.1016/j.watres.2020.116330, 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

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