Hygienically Relevant Microorganisms and Pathogens in Multifunctional Water Bodies and Hydrologic Circles (FLUSSHYGIENE)

Sustainable management of different types of water bodies in Germany

Project Objectives

The objective of the project FLUSSHYGIENE is to gain a clearer understanding of the entry paths and dynamics of hygienic loads and thus to subsequently elaborate a sound basis for decision-making as well as the tools for managing multifunctional flowing waters in a way that the highest possible protection of public health can be guaranteed without compromising their economic functions. The project focusses on temporarily occurring hygienic loads against the background of the  implementation of the revised EC Bathing Water Directive. The aim is to develop suitable tools to predict short-term pollution events, but also to evaluate long-term management measures with regard to their effectiveness and their cost-benefit ratio.

Scope of project

The tasks are performed in four reference areas with different initial situations: The Spree-Havel-system in Berlin, the Ruhr in North Rhine-Westphalia, the Rhine and Moselle in Rhineland-Palatinate and Isar and Ilz in Bavaria. Following the assessment of the status quo, a comprehensive measurement programme is prepared and implemented in order to close existing knowledge gaps. To quantify short-term pollution events, event-related sampling at known point sources and so-called hotspots (bathing areas, bank filtration sites) are performed. Both physico-chemical parameters, microbial indicator organisms and pathogens (viruses, bacteria, parasites) are measured. Moreover, focus is put on the identification and quantification of the relevant processes in the water bodies which influence the dynamics of hygienic loads along the flow path. Besides the quantification of the processes grazing(microzooplankton grazing), sedimentation/re-suspension and UV exposure in the laboratory, the chronological development of the a.m. parameters is examined in situ by means of the “the flowing wave”.

Various stochastic and deterministic modelling approaches are developed and/or tested for their application in the reference areas. The models are supposed to reveal the parameters leading to increased occurrence of microbial contamination. The resulting risks are quantified by means of a quantitative microbial risk analysis.

The results and models are applied in practice to the reference areas in the following steps:

  1. Cost-benefit analysis of the measures packages developed (Ruhr, Spree / Havel) in terms of a preventive protection of bathing persons
  2. Development of early warning systems for all reference areas
  3. Demonstration of a conflict-free approach concerning the opening of new bathing sites.

The results obtained in the different reference areas will be transferred to the “Guidelines for Monitoring and Dealing with Short-term Pollution Events” applicable also to other regions in Germany. In addition, a “Checklist for the Designation of New Riverine Bathing Waters” will be developed.

The project is being co-financed by Berliner Wasserbetriebe.

The project is managed by the Project Management Agency Karlsruhe (PTKA).


Selected publications produced in the FLUSSHYGIENE project are available here.



© slider photos: Abwasserverband Braunschweig/Veolia

Project partners


The project FLUSSHYGIENE (funding number 02WRM1364A) is one of 14 joint projects being funded in the scope of the BMBF programme “Regional Water Resources Management for Sustainable Water Protection in Germany (ReWaM)“. ReWaM is part of the BMBF funding priority “Sustainable Water Management (NaWaM)” within the framework programme “Research for Sustainable Development (FONA3)“.
FLUSSHYGIENE is being funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).


Press and Media

  • Brühe im Bach

    Immer wieder werden in Deutschland Abwässer weitgehend ungefiltert in Flüsse geleitet, manchmal samt Toilettenpapier. Die Praxis gefährdet Pflanzen und Tiere – mitunter auch Menschen.
  • Ein Date mit Wasserexpert*innen im Berliner EU Ecolabel Showroom

    Showroom zum EU Ecolabel ein Zeichen für mehr Umweltschutz. Zur schönsten Freitagnachmittags-Feierabendzeit ist am 2. Oktober 2020 auch das Kompetenzzentrum Wasser Berlin mit einem Wasser-Umweltschutz-Event dabei.
  • Die Digitalisierung der Wasserver- und –entsortung bietet viele Chancen. Ein Interview mit Edith Roßbach, Geschäftsführerin am Kompetenzzentzrum Wasser Berlin.
  • Mitwirkende in der Jury für den AQUA AWARD und den AQUA SCIENCE AWARD waren und sind u.a. Vertreter*innen folgender Institutionen: • Senatsverwaltung für Wirtschaft, Energie und Betriebe • Berliner Wasserbetriebe • Berlin Partner für Wirtschaft und Technologie GmbH • Kompetenzzentrum Wasser Berlin • Technische Universität Berlin • Unternehmen der Wasserwirtschaft
  • New Early Warning System for Bathing Water Areas

    Urban river bathing sites are to experience a renaissance, prevented however, by changing hygienic quality of the flowing waters. Research results show what has to be done. Interview with Dr. Pascale Rouault, the expert on river hygiene.
  • Finale des Projekts Flusshygiene

    Im Novemeber 2018 endete mit einem Abschlussworkshop das Verbundvorhaben FLUSSHYGIENE offiziell. Die Forschungsergebnisse und Methoden werden in dKürze publiziert.
  • Ende der Badesaison 2018

    Kurz vor dem Beginn der Sommerferien konnte in Zusammenarbeit mit den Berliner Wasserbetrieben, dem Kompetenzzentrum Wasser Berlin und der Technologiestiftung Berlin eine neue, für mobile Geräte optimierte, Internetseite vorgestellt werden. Mit der Veröffentlichung dieser Internetseite wurden die ersten Prognosemodelle für Badegewässerqualität in Deutschland in Betrieb genommen. Diese Modelle liefern seit Anfang Juli tagesaktuelle Prognosen der Badegewässerqualität für die Badestellen Kleine Badewiese und Grunewaldturm.
  • Wo gibt es Algen? Wo ist das Wasser noch klar? Wie sehen die Strände aus? Die Morgenpost hat die Gewässer in Berlin getestet.
  • Wo man gefahrlos baden kann

    In Berlin und Brandenburg gibt es viele Gewässer, die zum Baden einladen. Im Kompetenzzentrum Wasser Berlin ist ein Vorhersagemodell entwickelt worden, das Auskunft über die Qualität der Gewässer gibt. Wo man noch bedenkenlos ins Wasser gehen kann, erklärt Inforadio-Reporterin Marie Asmussen.
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More information

  • German Federal Environment Agency (UBA) publishes guidelines for managing hygienic risks at river bathing areas

    Bathing in rivers is becoming increasingly popular. However, it is a particular…

  • First SURF, then SWIM

    Hardly a metropolis in the world has as many natural bathing waters to offer as Berlin. A website provides information about the water quality of the bathing areas.

    Website www.badegewaesser-berlin.de…

  • Pediction of bathing water quality – detailed scientific info in the Water Research journal

    As part of the research project FLUSSHYGIENE Kompetenzzentrum Wasser Berlin has developed the…

  • 44th Berlin Water Workshop: Novel Prediction Tools for the Sanitary Status of Bathing Waters

    23 May 2018 5:00pm7:00pm

    Berliner Wasserbetriebe, Neue Jüdenstraße 1, 10709 Berlin

    Please refer to the German page

  • Regional Water Resources Management for Sustainable Protection of Waters in Germany – Fin...

    8 – 9 May 2018

    Seminaris CampusHotel Berlin, Takustraße 39, 14195 Berlin

    On behalf of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the networking and…

  • Data4Water 2018 – Research in Water Management

    15 February 2018 10:00am4:00pm

    Fraunhofer FOKUS, Kaiserin-Augusta-Allee 31, 10589 Berlin

    Fraunhofer Institute for Open Communication Systems FOKUS organizes an information event on data…

  • Pressemitteilung: Wieviel ist es uns wert, in Flüssen zu baden?