Industrial Point Sources: Rhine catchment area

Measurements at the Rhine monitoring station near Basel have shown that in addition to the inputs from municipal wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs), industrial discharges of organic-synthetic substances into Swiss surface waters can play a significant role. Due to the high concentrations during these discharge events, reporting and alarm thresholds in the Rhine are repeatedly exceeded. Substance inputs vary greatly in terms of location and time and are due to malfunctions or to unwanted or unnoticed incorrect discharges during cleaning processes. The concentration peaks thus caused put a heavy strain on the WWTPs and can lead to increased substance inputs into the waterbodies.

In order to obtain a better overview of the substance inputs from the chemical industry, on behalf of the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN), Eawag conducts a study in cooperation with the cantons. The aim of this project is to characterize industry-caused organic-synthetic substance inputs to Swiss surface waters in terms of time course, substance composition and load. For this purpose the effluents of two household- and industry-serving WWTPs in the Rhine catchment area were sampled over a period of two months and analyzed by LC-HRMS.