Pharmaceuticals difficult to treat in drinking water

Read the full story at Great Lakes Echo.

The emerging threat of pharmaceuticals, everyday chemicals and personal care products in drinking water may be the most difficult that water treatment plants have faced.

Lake Michigan takes 99 years to “turn over,” meaning chemicals that entered the lake a century ago may only just be exiting, the Alliance for the Great Lakes reported just this week.

The report says that surface water in Lake Michigan contains six of 20 “priority” chemicals, or emerging contaminants identified by environmental engineers from Michigan State University. They include flame retardants and a cholesterol-lowering drug.

After treatment, only a fire retardant remained in ready-to-drink water.

Experts say that membrane bioreactors may remove some pharmaceuticals while treating wastewater, but they cannot catch all of the diverse medicines.

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