[Pharmwaste] Treatment of pharms in wastewater facilities

Melody LaBella MLABELLA at centralsan.dst.ca.us
Thu Feb 18 12:57:39 EST 2010


Terri, you have just described one of the major challenges for our current generations - balancing human and environmental health with environmental resource management.  We have a finite amount of freshwater available to us and how do we want to use it?  For human consumption or to water lawns?  I'm sure many would say for both, but if we don't have enough for both, then what do we do?
 
There are pharmaceutical and many other chemical compounds (that are currently not routinely test for) in most US drinking water supplies.  So, the kids are most-likely already rolling around in it.  Of course, the question is how much more of these compounds are in reclaimed water and do those levels present harm?  Hard to say, being that every municipal wastewater supply is made up of a different chemical cocktail every day, every hour and possibly even every minute.
 
I think I've just asked more questions than given answers, but as someone that works both on pollution prevention and recycled water, I struggle with this issue often.
 
Melody LaBella
Environmental Engineer/
Pollution Prevention Program Coordinator
Central Contra Costa Sanitary District
Martinez, CA

>>> Terri Buckner <tbuckner at ibiblio.org> 2/18/2010 7:14 AM >>>

Given all the discussion on excretion rates of pharmaceuticals, the question I have is whether it is now, or ever will be possible, to handle these drugs during the wastewater treatment process. In my community, the local water authority is preparing to sell 'reclaimed water' (ie., that which has not been subjected to the final treatment phase of dispersion) for irrigation purposes to a local school. I'm shuddering to think of children rolling around in a gumbo of drugs that we can neither identify or have any possibility of treating.

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