Research in the Field of Particulate Contaminants


Research focus

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The research group Particulate Contaminants is involved in diverse research projects investigating the sources, pathways and receptors of particulate contaminants in the context of urban water management and with regard to environmental impacts. Project processing and acquisition is carried out in close cooperation with the other research groups. The structure of the research group is oriented as a holistic approach along the source-pathway-receptor model in order to work on the following main research topics:

What are sources of particulate contaminants?

  • Primary and secondary sources
  • Point and diffuse sources

How are particulate contaminants transported?

  • Transport mechanisms within urban drainage and wastewater treatment
  • Transfer of identified transport mechanisms to other environmental compartments

What do receptors look like?

  • Wastewater treatment plants (retention soil filters)
  • Flowing waters (water and sediment)
  • Groundwater

Thematically, particulate contaminants are considered which, due to their physical and chemical properties, cause a negative impact on the environment. On the one hand, this can be caused by the adsorbent (particle) itself (e.g. fine sediment) and by the process of elution of pollutants from particles (e.g. microplastics). On the other hand, this can also be caused by the adsorptive and thus the accumulating pollutant (e.g., heavy metals, persistent organic pollutants). In order to characterize the occurrence and, in the long term, the fate in the environment, the focus is primarily on increasing our understanding of the associated transport processes.