9 November 2018

From Lake Constance to the tap


Regiane (ESR10) and Marcel (ESR12) spent one month with Dr. Rolf Stettler from the St. Galler Stadtwerke (Switzerland) to learn about the applied treatment process and discuss the importance of high quality drinking water.

By ESR10 Regiane Sanches Natumi, ESR12 Marcel Schneider and ESR9 Carina Schönsee

During our secondment at the St. Galler Stadtwerke (SGS) in September/October, we were supervised by Dr. Rolf Stettler, Head of Water Quality Assurance, whose expertise spans from drinking water treatment and regulations to advising other drinking water treatment plant operators and related authorities. The SGS are municipal utilities supplying electricity, water, gas, heat and telecommunications to the city of Sankt Gallen and nearby municipalities. The tasteful St. Galler drinking water is treated utilizing a sequence of filtration, ozonation and biological treatments which is sufficient due to the already good water quality of Lake Constance, where the water is abstracted from.

A beautiful day at Lake Constance.

While being seconded at the SGS, we got introduced to the daily and seasonal tasks of the quality assurance unit of a drinking water supplier such as sampling, maintenance and other quality control measures. Their tasks and responsibilities do not only concern the treatment itself but also the entire supply system as well as communicating with the authorities and other water suppliers around Lake Constance.

During our time with Dr. Stettler we also visited the cantonal laboratory in Sankt Gallen and the Bodensee Wasserversorgung in Sipplingen, Germany. The Bodensee Wasserversorgung is another drinking water supplier operating a substantially larger drinking water treatment facility across Lake Constance. The cantonal laboratory is the authority responsible for monitoring water quality using various chemical and microbiological tests. For both days, Dr.Stettler’s mentee Carina Schönsee (ESR9) was also able to join.

Regiane and her supervisor Dr. Elisabeth Janssen also invited Carina and Marcel to their place of work – EAWAG – to learn about their facilities, discuss the ESRs’ projects and meet other experienced researchers.

We are all looking forward to our next meeting at the next NaToxAq PhD School in Barcelona in February 2019.