From the Pharmacy to the Tap: Emerging Contaminants from Water Reuse

Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products (PPCPs) are substances found in many of the lotions, sunscreens, soaps and medications that many of us use on a daily basis, but they are also finding their way into water sources. Many personal care products enter the waste water stream through showering and cleaning, and most drugs are not fully absorbed by the body and are excreted. PPCPs are an emerging challenge for the water industry because their concentrations vary throughout the year and current treatment methods have a limited ability to remove PPCPs from the water. For more information about PPCPs in California check out this article. For more information about PPCPs and the research being performed to remove them check out the EPA’s site.

Drinking water with pharmaceuticals


To help reduce the amount of pharmaceuticals entering the water supply, the Virginia Tech AWWA/VAWEA student chapter is helping out the Blacksburg Police Department as they participate in the National Drug Tack Back program, which provides a way for the community to responsibly dispose of expired or unused medications. On April 27th from 10am to 2pm bring any pharmaceuticals that you would like to dispose of to the Blacksburg Community Center at 725 Patrick Henry Drive and help keep the rivers and landfills free of contamination. See the Town of Blacksburg Calendar for more information!

Lead found in water at 2 Navy childcare sites.

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Lead is schools is of particular concern because children spend a significant amount of their time in school buildings. According to the EPA, up to 50% of a child’s total lead exposure can come from water, therefore, it is important that schools take proactive steps to make sure that their drinking water is safe. In the last two decades alone elevated lead levels were documented in school districts in at least 39 states. In the case of schools, the monitoring and correcting lead issues is voluntary. In fact, there are no enforceable lead standards for schools. However, in the circumstance mentioned in the article “Under the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Navy must test for lead in its water systems every three years” so very proactive steps were taken to ensure the safety of the children.

Original article can be found at:

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