EAWAG Studie

Nanosilver in wastewater can cause severe environmental damage if it occurs as a metal

A team led by Ralf Kägi from Eawag www.eawag.ch in Dübendorf has examined within the scope of the National Research Programme "Opportunities and Risks of Nanomaterials" (NRP 64) more closely just what happens to nanosilver on its journey from the drainpipe to the wastewater treatment plant, and in what form it is eventually released into the environment. The study shows for the first time that nanosilver is quickly transformed into less problematic substances on its way to the wastewater treatment plant. In addition, it is efficiently retained in the sewage sludge so that only a small portion of it reaches the water systems. The study did not examine what happens to nanosilver in the sewage sludge thereafter. In Switzerland, it is not permissible to use sewage sludge on farmland, and most of the sludge is therefore burned.


  • The full press release can be read here under www.eawag.ch


Link to the original Publication:

Kaegi, R., A. Voegelin, C. Ort, B. Sinnet, B. Thalmann, J. Krismer, H. Hagendorfer, M. Elumelu and E. Mueller (2013). "Fate and transformation of silver nanoparticles in urban wastewater systems." Water Res. DOI: 10.1016/j.watres.2012.11.060.



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