View Full Version : Water Supplies - Unintentional Contamination

2nd December 2012, 22:27
One of my teachers was talking about water supplies around Seattle becoming caffeinated due to the high-quantity coffee consumption and the fact that water treatment simply can't remove some substances.

It is something I had never really considered, and it turns out there are perscription medications slowly making their way into to water supplies as well. While not a serious threat at this time, the amount being low, it could become a concern within a few generations.


Area Tap Water Has Traces of Medicines
Tests Find 6 Drugs, Caffeine in D.C., Va.

By Carol D. Leonnig
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, March 10, 2008; Page B01

Pharmaceuticals, along with trace amounts of caffeine, were found in the drinking water supplies of 24 of 28 U.S. metropolitan areas tested. The findings were revealed as part of the first federal research on pharmaceuticals in water supplies, and those results are detailed in an investigative report by the Associated Press set to be published today.

In addition to caffeine, the drugs found in water treated by the Washington Aqueduct include the well-known pain medications ibuprofen and naproxen, commonly found in Aleve. But there were also some lesser-known drugs: carbamazepine, an anti-convulsive to reduce epileptic seizures and a mood stabilizer for treating bipolar disorders; sulfamethoxazole, an antibiotic that can be used for humans and animals in treating urinary tract and other infections; and monensin, an antibiotic typically given to cattle. In addition, the study uncovered traces of triclocarban, a disinfectant used in antibacterial soaps.

That the drugs were found so commonly nationwide highlights an emerging water dilemma that the public rarely considers. The drugs we use for ourselves and animals are being flushed directly into wastewater, which then becomes a drinking water source downstream. However, most wastewater and drinking water treatment systems, including Washington's, are incapable of removing those drugs.

And although the chemicals pose no immediate health threat in the water, the health effects of drinking these drug compounds over a long period is largely unstudied. Some scientists said there is probably little human health risk; others fear chronic exposure could alter immune responses or interfere with adolescents' developing hormone systems.

Washington's water regulators and utility officials say they are not alarmed by the findings because the drugs are found at such low levels -- parts per trillion, a tiny fraction of the amount in a medical dose. But they do view these "emerging contaminants" with concern.

"What concerns me is we're finding pharmaceuticals in the river that we rely upon for drinking water," said Thomas P. Jacobus, general manager of the Washington Aqueduct. "If we can't get them out, we have to find a way to neutralize them if we find there's a health effect from them."


CBS/AP/ February 11, 2009, 3:19 PM
Probe: Pharmaceuticals In Drinking Water


Gulp: Antidepressants, Autism & The Water Supply
By Ed Silverman // June 7th, 2012 // 10:20 am


That new world water. :P

3rd December 2012, 14:27
would it be possible for someone (an avalonian) provide me some feedback advice about well water? i live in country outside a capital city and we happen to have a septic tank and well. should i still be filtering for chemie's in my well water?

(thanks in advance!)

3rd December 2012, 17:03
First, the intentional poisoning must be addressed. Chlorine kills beneficial gut bacteria, among other things. Fluoride damages the body in too many ways to list.

Very valid point however OP.