Prescription for Trouble? Studying Pharmaceuticals in Wastewater

September 18, 2014 | General RCAP News

On It All Starts with Science, an EPA blog about science matters, Marguerite Huber details a recent EPA study on prescription drug concentrations in municipal wastewater.  Huber writes,

"Approximately 1,800 drugs are approved for prescription use in the United States. Have you ever thought of what happens to all those drugs once they have left you (or your medicine cabinet)? Due to human excretion and people flushing unused pills, these pharmaceuticals can end up in the wastewater stream, presenting a challenge to the nation’s wastewater treatment plants.

To estimate potential pharmaceutical concentrations in wastewater, EPA scientists conducted a survey of wastewater effluent from 50 large U.S. municipal wastewater treatment plants between January and April 2011. They then used the data to evaluate an EPA model designed to estimate potential concentrations of active pharmaceuticals in treated wastewater."

To read the rest of the story, visit the EPA blog here.