Life as a PhD student: A day at Water supply plant in Zürich
To have the opportunity to visit a Water Supply facility helps to understand the critical points on the challenge of providing high quality drinking water to a big population.
On 29th June, I went with colleagues from the Swiss Federal Institute of Water Research and Technology, Eawag, on an excursion. During the morning, we visited the campus at Hönggerberg of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, ETH Zürich, where I am also enrolled as a PhD student. We could visit an earthquake-proof construction building from domestic wood and could see a 3D-printer in action. However, the afternoon program was the highlight of the day! During the afternoon, I had the opportunity to visit the Department of Water Supply from the city of Zürich, the so called “Wasserversorgung Zürich”.
We were greeted with a fresh cup of the high-quality drinking water from Zürich and with a fascinating presentation about the water supply system of the city and the water treatment process. Zürich produces approximately 52.7 mio.m3 of water per year from which 70% comes from the Lake Zürich, 15% from groundwater and 15% from spring water. As the focus of the visit was groundwater we made a tour around the groundwater plant, where we could see the pump system, the infiltration system and the control room from where the whole procedure is controlled and monitored. As groundwater is mostly free of biological and chemical contaminants the main way of treatment is by filtration. Moreover, to monitor water quality against the presence of toxic compounds water fleas (Daphnia magna) are used and their behavior are constantly monitored. To close the visit, we went to their Biology Laboratory, where they monitor the zooplankton community present on Lake Zürich, and to their Chemical Laboratory, where they do routine measurements such as pH, turbidity and conductivity.
The visit to the Wasserversorgung Zürich was very interesting and informative. To have the opportunity to visit a Water Supply facility helps to understand the critical points on the challenge of providing high quality drinking water to a big population. This experience was unique and very helpful for my future research project.