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Apr 10

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What Goes In Must Come Out

Drinking wastewater isn’t as far-fetched as you might think. Question is, just how much of the “waste” part can be removed at the treatment plant? Listen up:

Like the old saying goes, what goes in must come out. How does that apply to our wastewater, you ask?

Wastewater treatment plants, where so much magic happens -- but not enough to remove drug chems. (via Chesapeake Bay Program/Flickr)

Wastewater treatment plants, where so much magic happens — but not enough to remove drug chems. (via Chesapeake Bay Program/Flickr)

“There are plenty of communities that get their water from Lake Michigan, and there are plenty of communities their wastewater enters Lake Michigan,” begins Shawn McElmurry of Wayne State University. “So it’s clearly connected.”

Of course, the water is treated before it hits our tap. But therein lies the rub—some contaminants aren’t removed during the treatment process.

McElmurry points out that wastewater includes pollutants such as traces of prescription drugs that people have taken or disposed of. Most wastewater treatment and water purification plants do not have the capacity to remove all of these chemicals, and upgrades would be costly.

Since prescription pollutants are making their way into our drinking water, there’s widespread agreement that research needs to be done to learn exactly what impact these drugs have on our health and the environment.

We’ll keep our ear to the ground for updates on the research.

Hear More:

Listen to Shawn McElmurry expand on pharmaceuticals and their effects on the environment.

Get schooled:

The fine print:

 

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.currentcast.org/toxic-contamination/what-goes-in-must-come-out/