McGILL STUDY FINDS SOME DRINKING WATER SURPRISES

Jul 24, 2015

By Michael Kramer

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A new study has found some unpleasant surprises in our drinking water.

And some of it, in parts of southern Ontario, contains traces of several illegal drugs – including cocaine.

McGill University scientists found discharge water from waste-water treatment plants in the Grand River watershed – has the potential to contaminate sources of drinking water with drugs such as morphine and cocaine.

The Grand River begins in Dufferin county and ends 300 kilometres later in Lake Erie – and covers several municipalities, including Waterloo, Kitchener, Guelph, Brantford and parts of Hamilton.

The study says the drugs are found only in relatively limited quantities in the river water.

But their concentration didn’t decline with distance downstream from the waste-water treatment plant – and many of the drugs were not removed completely during drinking-water treatment.

The study didn’t measure the drugs’ impact on the ecosystem.

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