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Wastewater treatment plants were originally designed to protect the environment, cleaning up rivers that were once open drains of human waste. In recent years, many states have relied on wastewater treatment plants to even return clean water back into our drinking water system for relatively quick reuse. Now, Minnesota Public Radio tells us that there is a new category of pollution called emerging contaminants – new substances they don’t know enough about to determine whether they are harmful to the environment and human life. The most troubling of these contaminants, antibiotic-resistant bacteria, are flourishing in wastewater treatment plants.
Since our society uses antibiotics so frequently anymore in medicine, agriculture, and even cleaning products bacteria are evolving to defy antibiotics. Because of the nature of what’s in waste water, the process wastewater treatment plants use, and the chemicals that are used to control bacteria growth, scientists have found that the antibiotic resistant gene is 20-times more common in the outflow of the Minnesota treatment plant as in other water samples they collected.
The good news is that very thorough water filter can capture the contaminants quite effectively. The Duluth plant being studied uses an excellent multi-stage filter – a much more exhaustive system than many treatment plants use. In fact, the plant claims that most treatment plants in the United States don’t have their level of treatment, so this antibiotic-resistant bacteria is likely every where and proliferating quite rapidly. This means people everywhere could be exposed to the bad bugs by swimming in rivers and lakes where wastewater is discharged or even by drinking tap water.
Of course, this study is relatively new, and more scientific data is being considered to determine the level of risk, but adding another layer of defense sure wouldn’t hurt! Here at Rayne of Irvine, we know our California water. We offer tests of your home or business water, and we have technology that has been certified by the Water Quality Association. Our water filters, drinking water systems, water conditioners, and water softeners can be designed to fit your needs and your budget.