In-situ Water Treatment Technologies

In-situ applications

The working group in-situ water treatment in the TECH department is primarily engaged with the development and application of novel materials (e.g. carbonaceous materials) and environmentally compatible reagents for in-situ barriers/zones and develops concepts for the long-term behavior and stability as well as the handling of these barriers at the end of their service life. We focus on physical and chemical processes that lead to the removal, immobilization (e.g. precipitation, sorption) and/or transformation (oxidation, reduction) of contaminants, especially persistent mobile (toxic) compounds, such as per- and polyfluorinated substances - PFAS, in the subsurface. Biological processes can not only remove degradable contaminants, but also initiate or support physicochemical processes. Our research work combines sustainable water management and preventive groundwater protection. Our approaches include laboratory experiments, field studies and pilot tests and aim to provide a solid scientific basis for better environmental management.
In recent years, innovative in-situ remediation technologies have been developed and increasingly applied to remediate complex groundwater problems in the unsaturated soil zone, the aquifer, and the saturated soil zone. These technologies are applied in situ and have the potential to remediate the source of contamination faster, more resource-efficiently, and therefore more cost-effectively, or to secure the down-stream area. However, there are many unanswered questions regarding the stability and integrity of the in-situ barrier, e.g. its achievable lifetime under groundwater conditions, and its long-term management.

Research objectives:

  • Development of sustainable concepts for the long-term management of in-situ sorption barriers to protect groundwater resources from PFAS
  • Development of cost-effective adsorbents with a low CO2 footprint
  • Development of concepts for the integration of effective adsorbent materials in stormwater and road runoff as well as blue-green infrastructure for the removal of trace substances


  • Up-Scaling of technical concepts to the technical scale (up to TRL 6)
  • Sustainable concepts for in-situ sorption barriers for PFAS
  • Development of sustainable water treatment technologies
  • Identification of sources of urban pollution


Head: Dr. Ariette Schierz
Postdoc: Dr. Tariq Mehmood
PhDs: Jannes Beihsner
Xiaoyan Chen
Haihua Xu
Technician: Kerstin Lehmann
Students: Diana Pen├čler
Sofia Wesely