ICC Water & Health / ICC / MedUni - Water Hygiene

MedUni - Water Hygiene

The Water Hygiene Department deals with the quality of drinking water and drinking water resources, water in health facilities and for medical applications, bathing water and surface waters as well as waste water in relation to human health. The prevention of water-associated diseases can only be successful if the systems are considered holistically, chemically and microbiologically from the water resource to the consumer/user. The findings are implemented in scientific publications, but also in national and international standards, guidelines and norms, so that social responsibility is taken into account in both scientific and direct health-related respects.

Through the Accredited Conformity Assessment Body API Hygiene Vienna, which has been established in our department, we offer with our chemical, microbiological and technical treatment expertise water-hygienic expertises and professional support, especially for health facilities, water suppliers, authorities and specialist companies.

An important task and a special concern for us is the transfer of the acquired knowledge to society in the context of university courses, lectures, advanced training courses, cooperation in the technical bases for laws and regulations, in the preparation of national and international standards and advice. Furthermore, we are active in the training of experts in the field of water hygiene according to §73 LMSVG and medical specialists.

For the research focus water disinfection we have developed a specific laboratory irradiation facility and a device for photoreactivation to investigate the UV sensitivity of microorganisms (pathogenic bacteria, viruses and protozoa as well as indicator microorganisms). The Wiental Water Technology Centre (WTWT) was established for testing and validating pilot and full-scale water disinfection processes.

>> Staff of the working group

Ecology of Health-related Microorganisms
(Head Assoc. Prof. Dr. Alexander Kirschner)

The prevention of water-associated diseases can only be successful if the systems are considered holistically and also from an ecological point of view. In our research group we are concerned with the ecology of selected water-borne pathogens such as Vibrio cholerae and Legionella, faecal indicator bacteria (E. coli, enterocococci) or the natural bacterial microbiota in groundwater, drinking water and surface water.

In order to understand the influence of environmental factors on the growth and occurrence of pathogens, indicator bacteria or natural microbiota, suitable detection methods for the microbes are required - our research group is developing new microscopic and cytometric methods for this purpose.

Prof. Alexander Kirschner is also Deputy Head of the Division Water Quality and Health at KL Krems.