CS #2: Sources, pathways, fate and transport of PFAS and PM(T)s in the Danube basin semi-closed water cycle

Our Aim: Providing improved knowledge to secure the safety of drinking water


The International Commission for Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR) has identified the pollution from hazardous substances as a significant issue in the Danube Basin. That is no wonder: The Basin  receives WWTP and stormwater discharges from an area with more than 80 million inhabitants throughout 14 countries. About a quarter of them live in the five countries surveyed for this case study. Unfortunately, there is a lack of knowledge about PFAS in the river and how these chemicals impact the drinking water abstracted via bank filtration along the river.

Case Study 2 focuses on a large-scale river catchment that runs from the mouth of the Danube Basin to Budapest, Hungary, including the bank filtration areas. Our aim is to develop methods:

- for quantification of the origin of selected chemicals discharged to the Danube River

- to assess the behavior of these chemicals during filtration in the riverbanks and during drinking water abstraction

- to identify effective measures to control pollution levels in rivers and in drinking water impacted by rivers


The innovative combination of modelling approaches will enable the assessment of risks to human health and the environment at different temporal and spatial scales (short and long-term trends, source to catchment scale) in soil, sediment and water, which can be applied in other river basins worldwide.


  1. Check out our poster about "Comparative Assessment of PFAS Concentration in the Upper Danube Basin" on Zenodo


Photo Credit: Gerhard Lindner

Taking river samples. @TU Wien

Photo credit: Ali Obeid

Sampling at the Danube River and using groundwater piezometers on the bank. (@Ali Obeid)

What have we done so far...


So far, we have implemented large-scale monitoring in the Danube. We have developed a monitoring concept for monitoring of chemicals in surface waters, ground water, atmospheric deposition, municipal and industrial waste water as well as in landfill leachate in the Danube catchment upstream of Budapest.

In addition, we made a first batch and column experiments for behaviour of chemicals during bank filtration and developed Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for sampling at all selected sampling locations.

Furthermore, a common concept for modelling of transport and behavior of chemicals during river bank filtration was developed. This will help to identify how chemicals (especially PFAS) are transported into and throughout the Danube Basin and its river bank filtration sites.

Thus, we can  develop strategies to overcome existing barriers.



Taking samples at Danube river. @TU Wien

Design ohne Titel(17)

Groundwater sampling. @TU Wien


Groundwater sampling. @Budapest Water Works, Balázs László


Groundwater sampling. @TU Wien