Portable Sanitation Association International

Association Insight April 18 2018

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Pharmaceuticals in Wastewater: Implications for the Portable Sanitation Industry By Karleen Kos, PSAI Executive Director For the past several years, portable sanitation operators have identified the accessibility and cost of waste disposal as one of their biggest business challenges. Lack of infrastructure capacity is certainly a root cause for our disposal woes. There is another issue lurking, though, that is likely to impact disposal access and fees in the future: the concentration of pharmaceuticals in wastewater. This is not a problem that is specific to portable sanitation, but it is likely to affect us as information becomes more available and governmental bodies, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and publicly owned treatment works (POTWs) grapple with what to do. Background Scientists and wastewater professionals have known for years that trace pharmaceuticals and personal care products are present in wastewater. In its January 1998 issue the scholarly journal Chemosphere published a review of information known at that time, summarizing it in the following abstract: [Pharmaceuticals] are a group of substances that until recently have been exposed to the environment with very little attention. The reason why they may be interesting as environmental micropollutants, is that medical substances are developed with the intention of performing a biological effect. Especially antibiotics used as growth promoters, [such] as feed additives in fish farms are anticipated to end up in the environment. Very little is known about the exposure routes of the medical substances to the environment. […] Further research would be necessary to assess the environmental risk involved in exposing medical substances and metabolites to the environment. Looking to Revisit the PSAI Convention and Trade Show Content? Each session's slideshows are now posted on the Member's Only Industry Resource Library. CLICK HERE WEEKLY EDITION April 18, 2018 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2

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