Use of passive samplers for environmental monitoring

Use of passive samplers for environmental monitoring

Passive samplers are ideal to complement grab sampling and elaborate automatic samplers for the use in surface waters. Passive sampling is based on the principle that substances from the water phase sorb to a collector phase and accumulate there over time. This enrichment makes it possible to detect substances that are difficult to measure due to their low concentrations in the water sample. Different collector phases are used for different pollutant classes and some collectors are fitted with membranes. Through these individual adaptations the collector properties can be optimised and adapted to the problem at hand.

The Ecotox Centre offers advice and support in the selection of suitable materials and the installation of passive samplers in various projects. It also operates a test channel for the calibration of passive samplers. 

Project examples

DIMES II - Diffuse micropollutant emissions from urban areas
Project partner: Eawag, Dept. Urban Water Management

Bioavailability of estrogens in sediment 
Project partner: RWTH Aachen

Project partner: Eawag, Dept. Environmental Chemistry

Evaluation of new sampler materials 
Project partner: German Federal Institute of Hydrology

Calibration of passive samplers for measuring pesticides in Rumania
Project partner: University Koblenz-Landau 

Current publications

Endo, S., Matsuura, Y., Vermeirssen, E.L.M. (2019) Mechanistic Model Describing the Uptake of Chemicals by Aquatic Integrative Samplers: Comparison to Data and Implications for Improved Sampler Configurations. Environ. Sci. Technol. 53, 1482-1489
Download at ACS

Müller, A.-K., Leser, K., Kämpfer, D., Riegraf, C., Crawford, S.E., Smith, K., Vermeirssen, E.L.M., Buchinger, S., Hollert, H. (2019) Bioavailability of estrogenic compounds from sediment in the context of flood events evaluated by passive sampling. Water Research 161 540-548
Download at Sciencedirect

Mutzner, L.; Vermeirssen, E. L. M.; Mangold, S.; Maurer, M.; Scheidegger, A.; Singer, H.; Booij, K.; Ort, C. (2019) Passive samplers to quantify micropollutants in sewer overflows: accumulation behaviour and field validation for short pollution events, Water Research, 160, 350-360, doi:10.1016/j.watres.2019.04.012
Download at Sciencedirect

Mutzner, L.; Vermeirssen, E. L. M.; Ort, C. (2019) Passive samplers in sewers and rivers with highly fluctuating micropollutant concentrations – Better than we thought, Journal of Hazardous Materials, 361, 312-320, doi:10.1016/j.jhazmat.2018.07.040
Download at Sciencedirect


Dr. Etienne Vermeirssen
Dr. Etienne Vermeirssen Send mail Tel. +41 58 765 5295