Listener Environment & Climate Page
Equipment to test water for bacteria
Home water purification
Maps & studies of groundwater
Summary of USGS studies 1961-2002
1978 WVGS study of depth of groundwater
1991 USGS study of Jefferson County groundwater
2005 USGS study of Jefferson County groundwater
2005 USGS modeling of Shenandoah & Opequon water budgets
2009 USGS study of Jefferson County groundwater
USGS "Shenandoah River instream flow studies" (minimum instream flow needed for aquatic health)
Berkeley Co. streams
Future water shortages in Berkeley County?
Berkeley briefing on water issues & study in Panhandle
Citizens' complaint about paying others' water costs in Shenandoah Junction
Hearing by WV PSC on water pipe from Harpers Ferry to River Riders
Final order on Catoctin Power Plant near Point of Rocks (pages 30-34 refer to Jefferson County quarry water)
Earlier order on Catoctin Power Plant
NIH article on human drugs in rivers, sewage treatment to remove drugs, etc Also click on "Related Articles" at that website
"Roughly 100 pharmaceuticals have now been identified in rivers, lakes, and coastal waters throughout Europe and the United States in concentrations of parts per billion to parts per trillion....
So far there is no evidence of adverse human health effects due to traces of pharmaceuticals in water. But scientists have linked certain pharmaceuticals with disturbing ecosystem changes. For example, in volume 8 (1994) of Chemistry and Ecology, researchers demonstrated that the feminization of fish--male carp and trout producing vitellogenin, an egg protein usually found only in females--was associated with exposure to sewage effluent now known to contain ethinyl estradiol, the active ingredient in birth control pills.
There is much concern about what is not known: ecotoxicity data are available for less that 1% of human pharmaceuticals, according to estimates published in the April 2004 issue of Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology. Today, intensive research is under way to investigate the effect of human medications on the environment…
"I think there’s going to be a lot of emphasis on labeling, and also on treatment processes," says Alistair Boxall, a senior lecturer at York University and Central Science Laboratory in England. "So perhaps if you’ve got a hospital where cancer drugs are being used, it may be that we have to start putting treatment processes on the end of the [sewer] pipes of those hospitals to remove some of the drugs."
Drug take-back programs for expired pharmaceuticals are in place in parts of Europe, so labeling drugs with instructions to return unused portions to a pharmacy makes sense. By comparison, in the United States, the Controlled Substances Act complicates such schemes because it prohibits patients from transferring controlled medicines to anyone other than a law enforcement official. However, a drug return program has recently been legislated (though not implemented) in Maine…
there is much research into whether wastewater treatment can economically remove pharmaceuticals. Increased retention time within treatment plants, chlorination, ozonation, and the natural reduction of a compound’s mass or concentration over time due to processes such as biodegradation all increase the removal of some drugs from wastewater; more advanced treatments such as adding activated carbon or reverse osmosis can remove even more. "But there’s never a silver bullet," says Shane Snyder, research and development project manager of the Southern Nevada Water Authority. "There’s always a catch."
The catch with ozone treatment is that it forms bromate, which is a regulated disinfection by-product; with chlorination, the catch is that chlorine combines with ammonia in the sewage treatment system to form chloramines, which are not strong oxidants and so cannot break down compounds such as estrogens. However, chlorination can destroy almost all the estrogens if ammonia is removed first, says Snyder. But even with the use of reverse osmosis (which removes pharmaceuticals down to parts per trillion) and the addition of activated carbon, there’s the problem of what to do with the retained contaminants."