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

November 22, 2021

ETH Zurich has awarded the Otto Jaag Water Protection Prize to environmental engineer Elisa Calamita for her doctoral thesis “Modelling the effects of large dams on water quality in tropical rivers.” The price honours outstanding dissertations and master theses from ETH Zurich in the field of water protection and hydrology.

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November 17, 2021

The 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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Scientific publications

Chalifour, A.; Walser, J. C.; Pomati, F.; Fenner, K. (2021) Temperature, phytoplankton density and bacteria diversity drive the biotransformation of micropollutants in a lake ecosystem, Water Research, 202, 117412 (10 pp.), doi:10.1016/j.watres.2021.117412, Institutional Repository
Carles, L.; Martin-Laurent, F.; Devers, M.; Spor, A.; Rouard, N.; Beguet, J.; Besse-Hoggan, P.; Batisson, I. (2021) Potential of preventive bioremediation to reduce environmental contamination by pesticides in an agricultural context: a case study with the herbicide 2,4-D, Journal of Hazardous Materials, 416, 125740 (10 pp.), doi:10.1016/j.jhazmat.2021.125740, Institutional Repository
Rossi, F.; Carles, L.; Donnadieu, F.; Batisson, I.; Artigas, J. (2021) Glyphosate-degrading behavior of five bacterial strains isolated from stream biofilms, Journal of Hazardous Materials, 420, 126651 (11 pp.), doi:10.1016/j.jhazmat.2021.126651, Institutional Repository
Cai, Y.; Mitrano, D. M.; Hufenus, R.; Nowack, B. (2021) Formation of fiber fragments during abrasion of polyester textiles, Environmental Science and Technology, 55(12), 8001-8009, doi:10.1021/acs.est.1c00650, Institutional Repository
To the library

Publications for practitioners

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

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

In the canton of Basel-Landschaft, existing pollution situation and hazards to groundwater were determined. The model area Hardwald is characterized by strongly urban and industrially areas.
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.
Wastewater is a source of antibiotic resistant bacteria. We study their dissemination in the aquatic environment, and strategies to remove them.
Water Resource Quality (WRQ) was an integrated project running from 2006-2012 at Eawag that aimed to develop a generally applicable framework for the mitigation of geogenic contamination in groundwater used for drinking.
EcoImpact is an Eawag-wide interdisciplinary research effort, strongly motivated by the planned modifications of the Swiss wastewater treatment plants.
Interdisciplinary project on biological effects of urban micropollutants
Interdisciplinary project on biological effects of micropollutants on the periphyton

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
Dr. Andreas Frömelt
  • wastewater
  • wastewater treatment
  • data science
  • machine learning
  • modeling
Dr. Ksenia Groh
  • molecular ecotoxicology
  • aquatic ecotoxicology
  • proteomics
  • micropollutants
  • endocrine disruptors
  • bioanalytics
PD Dr. Thomas Hofstetter
  • isotopes
  • micropollutants
Prof. Dr. Juliane Hollender
  • wastewater
  • biological degradation
Dr. Céline Jacquin
  • membranes
  • decentralized systems
  • water quality
  • drinking water
  • cellular ecotoxicology
Dr. David Janssen
  • inorganic contaminants
  • chemistry
  • metals
  • nutrients
  • biogeochemistry
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
Dr. Serina Robinson
  • Microbiology
  • biotransformation
  • Metagenomics
  • pharmaceuticals
  • biodegradation
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. 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