Focus: Decentralised resource recovery from wastewater

New approaches for the sewage system

The economical handling of resources is also becoming increasingly important in Switzerland. As has long been known from waste recycling, resources can also be efficiently recovered from wastewater. One approach is to close the cycles of water, nutrients and energy as locally as possible. New technologies based on the concept of separation at the source allow the decentralised treatment of wastewater on site in the smallest possible space. Eawag conducts interdisciplinary research into sustainable solutions that benefits both people and the environment. Learn more

Urine treatment: from trial and error to exciting innovation
What has been a purification process in wastewater treatment plants for decades can also be used decentrally or semi-centrally as a recycling process for nutrients. Early separation of "solid and liquid" plays a key role here. Read more

Energy recovery from wastewater
Wastewater contains a lot of energy – in the form of heat and in the form of organic matter in faeces. Eawag is investigating where heat should ideally be extracted from wastewater on its way to the wastewater treatment plant and how fuels can be obtained from faeces.

Sustainable development of urban sewage systems
The Wings Research Programme explores alternative, decentralised sewage systems and brings actors from the areas of research, politics, authorities, urban planning, and engineering and architectural firms together. The objective is to promote innovations in the water sector and find ways to create a sustainable and flexible future for wastewater. Read more

Sustainable toilets for climate change and SDGs
The separation toilet save! has won the Design Award Switzerland 2021. This is also a milestone for Tove Larsen. She has been researching for almost 30 years how the nutrients in wastewater can be recovered in a useful way. In this interview, she explains how crucial our handling of wastewater. Read more

The Water Hub in the NEST research building
In the Water Hub, decentralised wastewater treatment designed to recover resources is being researched under real conditions. You can discover how this works by taking a virtual tour of the Water Hub, watching the video, or listening to researchers explaining in their podcast.

In order to close nutrient cycles, many stakeholders must work together
Sabine Hoffmann, Kai Udert and Lisa Deutsch are committed to a sanitation and nutrient transformation. They use an example to explain why a transformation is needed and why collaboration with politicians in particular is a challenge. Read more

The toilet revolution is here
Together with a team of researchers and designers, Eawag has designed a toilet system that makes it possible to recycle nutrients from wastewater on-site. The system is now to be made ready for market together with industry partners. Read more

What toxins, what information, and what resources are contained in wastewater? This question is explored in this Arte documentary, which involves scientists from Germany, France, and Switzerland. Eawag’s research on the separation of wastewater at the source and the recovery of valuable resources is also presented (from minute 40:50).

In various research projects, Eawag is investigating how energy can be generated from faeces.  An exciting, but also somewhat special field of research, which illustrator Celine Künzle took a close look at and turned into a comic reportage. (in German)

6 May 2022
Das nachhaltige Quartier von morgen
Keynote session as part of Swissbau, Basel Trade Fair

1 & 9 June 2022
Vorstellung von Water Hub und Autarky-Toilette, guided tour, Eawag Dübendorf

VSA advanced training course, Kandersteg

In our Agenda you will find further events of Eawag.

Advantages and challenges of treating blackwater for recovering resources.
Eawag Factsheet

Advantages and challenges of treating greywater for reuse.
Eawag fact sheet

Urine source separation
Advantages and challenges of urine separation at source.
Eawag fact sheet

Important scientific publications on the topic of wastewater disposal are explained for professionals in a concise manner.

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Eawag: Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology

Überlandstrasse 133
8600 Dübendorf

The texts and photos credited as “Eawag” are subject to the Creative Commons “Attribution 4.0 International” licence. As long as the source is indicated, this material may be freely copied, redistributed and modified. Further information on the licence.