Water and Waste Water

Dr. Bernd Bendinger

Bereichsleiter Angewandte Mikrobiologie
IWW Zentrum Wasser
Moritzstrasse 26
45476 Mülheim an der Ruhr

Prof. Dr. Tillmann Lüders

Universität Bayreuth
Lehrstuhl für Ökologische Mikrobiologie
Dr.-Hans-Frisch-Str. 1-3
95448 Bayreuth

The "Water/Wastewater" specialist group has around 250 members and specialises in the microbiology of water. The spectrum ranges from natural waters such as groundwater, lakes, rivers and seawater to drinking water, wastewater, process water and cooling water. This involves both desirable effects, such as the self-purification of water bodies or the biological treatment of drinking, industrial and waste water, as well as undesirable effects such as the occurrence and proliferation of hygienically relevant microorganisms in these waters.
The specialist group also focuses on biofilms, which represent a natural life form of microorganisms in natural and technical water systems and occur as growth on surfaces or as flocs in the water phase. Bacteria can change their properties during the transition from the planktonic to the sessile phase and interact with each other over the long term. The biofilms formed in turn influence the water quality.
Therefore, in addition to water, the microbiology of entire technical water systems for drinking water distribution and for heat exchange or evaporative cooling in industry is also analysed. Water quality, materials and operating conditions have a major influence on biofilm formation. Of interest are the effects of measures to remove biofilms, e.g. mechanical cleaning and disinfection, in order to restore or guarantee the hygiene or technical functionality of the systems. Other important aspects are the viable but non-culturable (VBNC) stages of bacteria in natural and technical systems and methods for recording the physiological state of a cell between the apparently fluid transition from living to dead.
The international conference "How dead is dead", which takes place every two years and is co-organised by the specialist group, is dedicated to the topic of VBNC in the environment, technical systems and medicine. The specialist group also organises mini-symposia on current topics at the VAAM annual conference. Workshops and seminars can be organised on the initiative of members.
Topics on microbial ecology in water are coordinated with the Environmental Microbiology Section.
Dr Bernd Bendinger, DVGW Research Centre TUHH, Hamburg University of Technology, has been the spokesperson for the specialist group since November 2014. The deputy spokesperson since 2022 has been Prof Dr Tillmann Lüders, University of Bayreuth.

Admission to special group