DOC project (TALKO)

Load of drinking water reservoirs by dissolved organic carbon
Prediction, precaution, management options (TALKO)

Time span: 11/2012-10/2015

Braunfärbung der Weißen Mulde (Foto: Tittel, UFZ)
High concentration of humics caused browning of river Weiße Mulde during a flood event (Photo: Tittel, UFZ)


During the last two decades, the concentration of DOC increased in rivers and lakes worldwide with negative consequences for drinking water treatment (increase in precipitant and sludge, short operation time of filters).

Project goals

Lowering of costs caused by DOC for supply of drinking water from reservoirs

  1. Advanced understanding of processes
  2. Development of improved prediction devices
  3. Optimized treatment in water works
  4. Management strategies for catchments and reservoirs


1. Field measurements at several hydrologic condictions:

  • Identification of DOC sources and mechanisms of mobilization
  • Measurement of DOC degradation in rivers, reservoirs and water works

2. Characterization of DOC:

  • high-resolution mass spectrometry
  • age determination

3. Experiments and field investigations regarding:

  • Precipitation of DOC from different sources
  • Consequences of rehydration of peat lands
  • Role of sediments in reservoirs
  • Relationship between trophic state and DOC load

4. Investigation of factors controling DOC

  • degradation (nutrients, light, dilution)
    → chemostats and flow channels (MOBICOS)

Rappbode reservoir (Photo: Künzelmann, UFZ)

Project partners

Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research GmbH - UFZ
Dept. Hydrogeology HDG (Dr. Fleckenstein, Dr. Musolff, Oosterwoud)
Dept. River Ecology FLOEK (Dr. Kamjunke, Prof. Weitere, Dr. Norf)
Dept. Lake Research SEEFO (Dr. Tittel, Dr. Rinke, Dr. Koschorreck, Dr. Wendt-Potthoff)
Dept. Analytics ANA (Prof. Reemtsma)
DVGW - Deutsche Vereinigung des Gas- und Wasserfaches e.V., Technologiezentrum Wasser (TZW) – Außenstelle Dresden (Dr. Wricke)
IDUS Biologisch Analytisches Umweltlabor GmbH (Dr. Opitz)


Cooperation partners and funding
Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (Federal Ministry for Education and Research; BMBF)
DVGW - Deutsche Vereinigung des Gas- und Wasserfaches e.V.
Sächsisches Landesamt für Umwelt, Landwirtschaft und Geologie
Arbeitsgemeinschaft Trinkwassertalsperren ATT
Landestalsperrenverwaltung des Freistaates Sachsen
Talsperrenbetrieb Sachsen-Anhalt (AöR)
Fernwasserversorgung Elbaue-Ostharz GmbH
Zweckverband Fernwasser Südsachsen

PI: Dr. Jörg Tittel (UFZ)
Coordination: Dr. Norbert Kamjunke (UFZ), 0391 8109434,

Press release