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

Davis, C. A.; Janssen, E. M. -L. (2020) Environmental fate processes of antimicrobial peptides daptomycin, bacitracins, and polymyxins, Environment International, 134, 105271 (9 pp.), doi:10.1016/j.envint.2019.105271, Institutional Repository
Achermann, S.; Mansfeldt, C. B.; Müller, M.; Johnson, D. R.; Fenner, K. (2020) Relating metatranscriptomic profiles to the micropollutant biotransformation potential of complex microbial communities, Environmental Science and Technology, 54(1), 235-244, doi:10.1021/acs.est.9b05421, Institutional Repository
Aeppli, M.; Vranic, S.; Kaegi, R.; Kretzschmar, R.; Brown, A. R.; Voegelin, A.; Hofstetter, T. B.; Sander, M. (2019) Decreases in iron oxide reducibility during microbial reductive dissolution and transformation of ferrihydrite, Environmental Science and Technology, 53(15), 8736-8746, doi:10.1021/acs.est.9b01299, Institutional Repository
Burkard, M.; Betz, A.; Schirmer, K.; Zupanic, A. (2020) Common gene expression patterns in environmental model organisms exposed to engineered nanomaterials: a meta-analysis, Environmental Science and Technology, 54(1), 335-344, doi:10.1021/acs.est.9b05170, Institutional Repository
Schug, H.; Maner, J.; Begnaud, F.; Berthaud, F.; Gimeno, S.; Schirmer, K.; Županič, A. (2019) Intestinal fish cell barrier model to assess transfer of organic chemicals in vitro: an experimental and computational study, Environmental Science and Technology, 53(20), 12062-12070, doi:10.1021/acs.est.9b04281, 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

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