Much of our drinking water comes from rivers and lakes that have wastewater treatment plants located on them. Besides stormwater sweeping contaminants into these waterways, there is concern that our sewage plants are also allowing dangerous contaminants to be passed into them. Our wastewater treatment plants treat the water that is drained and flushed from nearly all American communities. Traditional treatment facilities kill pathogenic microorganisms but there are many other contaminants they cannot remove. Wastewater also contains many chemicals, pharmaceuticals and hormones, many of which remain biologically active after being discarded. These â€˜emerging contaminantsâ€™ include ibuprofen, caffeine, estrogen, testosterone and drugs that lower cholesterol and inhibit seizures. Hormones such as estrogen appear to alter aquatic organisms. Some of these chemicals can disrupt human endocrine systems, causing health problems such as infertility and cancer. Health advocates are also concerned about the effects on people of ingesting mixtures of these substances. Our EPA claims the levels of these substances that they have detected in our drinking water are not high enough to harm us. However, critics say the effects of long term, low level exposure to these contaminants are not known, especially in regard to fetal exposure and other sensitive populations. Studies have shown technology exists to remove many of these emerging contaminants with the use of microfilters and reverse osmosis procedures.
Pending Legislation: None
I oppose reforming current emerging contaminant policy
I support identifying a legislator who will sponsor a bill to require wastewater treatment facilities to also treat or remove emerging contaminants including chemicals, pharmaceuticals and hormones, among others