Prevent Spread of Infectious Disease Through Recycled Wastewater

wwtr

Target: US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Office of Wastewater Management

Goal: Assess the dangers of using disease-ridden reclaimed wastewater and educate the public on the issue

Many communities use reclaimed water to irrigate lawns, parks, gardens, and various other types of landscaping. This is particularly common in areas that are prone to water shortages and drought. A recent study sheds a disturbing light on the practice, uncovering antibiotic-resistant “superbugs” like methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in water samples at wastewater treatment plants nationwide.

MRSA is a bacterial infection affecting people’s skin tissue, which can eventually become resistant to treatment and prove fatal. Communities that recycle water for irrigation and drinking could be creating major public health hazard. The EPA’s Office of Wastewater Management needs to let people know about the dangers of recycling water this way.

The University of Maryland study surveyed wastewater samples from two mid-Atlantic and two Midwestern wastewater treatment plants. Samples were collected and analyzed for the presence of superbugs like MRSA. The researchers took samples from influent, the raw sewage directly fed into a treatment plant, as well as from effluent, which is partially treated wastewater commonly recycled for irrigation purposes. They found that half of all the wastewater samples taken from each of the treatment plants tested positive for MRSA and other similar pathogens. This indicates a widespread superbug contamination problem that must be addressed.

MRSA and various other potentially-deadly superbugs can apparently persist beyond the initial treatment phases. People could be exposed to these pathogens through contact with grassy lawns and other common areas frequented by families with children.  Because of increasing use of reclaimed wastewater, further research is needed to evaluate the risk of exposure to antibiotic-resistant bacteria in treated wastewater. The EPA needs to take this study seriously and advise communities that use this practice.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear EPA Office of Wastewater Management,

In a recent study through the University of Maryland, wastewater samples from two mid-Atlantic and two midwestern wastewater treatment plants were collected and analyzed for the presence of superbugs like methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). The frightening results showed that 50% o more of the wastewater samples taken from each of the treatment plants tested positive for MRSA and other similar pathogens. This indicates a widespread problem of superbug contamination that must be addressed immediately.

Many communities use reclaimed water to irrigate lawns, parks, gardens, and various other types of landscaping. This study suggests people could be exposed to this MRSA and other harmful, resistant bacteria by being near places where this water is used. Communities that recycle water for irrigation, drinking could be creating major public health hazard and the EPA’s Office of Wastewater Management needs to send a message to communities about this practice.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Kristian Bjornard via wikimedia commons

 

Sign the Petition

  • Only your name will be displayed. By signing, you accept our terms and may receive updates on this and related causes.
FacebookCare2 NewsTwitterEmailShare

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

Facebook Comments

comments

110 Signatures

  • Eric von Borstel
  • Hermann Kastner
  • James Thrailkill
  • jeff hopkins
  • Mal Gaff
  • Nancy Petersen
  • Nancy Petersen
  • Terrie Phenicie
  • Holly Hall
  • Frédérique Pommarat
1 of 11123...11
Skip to toolbar