Postdoctoral position in the field of ’Fate of of Nanoplastic in Drinking Water Works’

Closing Date
WorkplaceDübendorf, Zurich region, Switzerland


Eawag, the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, is an internationally networked aquatic research institute within the ETH Domain (Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology). Eawag conducts research, education and expert consulting to achieve the dual goals of meeting direct human needs for water and maintaining the function and integrity of aquatic ecosystems.

Postdoctoral position in the field of ’Fate of of Nanoplastic in Drinking Water Works’

Topic: Plastic pollution of surface waters has become obvious and recently plastic particles have been observed in bottled water. Although the origin of these plastic particles is unclear, it has led to a public concern about plastic in drinking water. As nanosized plastic may pass the treatment facilities to some extent, key treatment steps including ultrafiltration, ozonation, sand - and activated carbon filtration will be evaluated for their capacity to retain nanoplastic. To circumvent the difficulties associated with plastic analysis, experiments on a pilot facility will be conducted using metal-doped nanoplastic (diameter ~ 200 nm) allowing for quantitative assessment of the removal of the plastic by conventional elemental analyses (ICP-MS). The results will reveal to what extent nanoplastic is retained during drinking water treatment and will help assess whether nanoplastic could be found in tap water in the future.

The overall goal of this project is to study the fate of nanoplastic particles during different steps of the drinking water treatment chain and to assess to what extent nanoplastic particles are removed from the source water. The following objectives will be addressed specifically:

  • Evaluate the stability of the metal-labeled nanoplastic particles during the ozone treatment. For this purpose, batch experiments will be conducted and evaluated using light scattering techniques
  •  Evaluate and refine ICP-MS protocols to optimize recoveries of metal-labeled nanoplastic particles in activated carbon and sand matrices. This will be achieved by conducting batch experiments in the lab
  • Conduct spiking experiments on pilot-scale facilities of the Water Supply of Zürich (WVZ) using metal-labeled nanoplastic particles and evaluate the removal efficiencies during different treatment steps.

The project is funded for a duration of 18 months. The workplace and employment will be at Eawag in Dübendorf, Switzerland. The project is in collaboration with the Water Supply of Zürich (WVZ) and selected experiments will be conducted on the pilot-scale facilities of WVZ.

We are looking for highly motivated candidates with a doctoral degree in environmental sciences or engineering, chemistry, materials science or a related field. Moreover, demonstrable communication skills in English and willingness and ability to work in a team are essential.

Eawag offers a unique research and working environment and is committed to promoting equal opportunities for women and men and to support the compatibility of family and work. Applications from women are especially welcome. For more information about Eawag and our work conditions please consult ?" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"> and ?" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"> .

Deadline for applications is 31 October 2018 or until the position is filled. Your application shall include a cover letter describing your motivation for conducting this project, a complete resume and the names and contact information of two to three academic references.

For further information, please contact Dr Ralf Kaegi, Email ralf.kaegi [at] eawag[.]ch or Dr Denise Mitrano Email denise.mitrano [at] eawag[.]ch.

We look forward to receive your application. Please send it through this webpage, any other way of applying will not be considered. A click on the button below will take you directly to the application form. ,
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