Things are not looking good in the Puget Sound.
Apparently, samples taken from the water showed high levels of Prozac, bug spray, cocaine, Zantac, ibuprofen and 77 other drugs. These drugs littered not only the water but also the tissue of juvenile chinook salmon.
The samples, taken from the water near sewage treatment plants in the estuaries of the Seattle area, were collected over two days in September 2014. While no one is exactly sure how the contaminants got into the water in the first place, researchers do know the levels are among the highest in the nation.
The permit administrator from the Wastewater Treatment Division in Washington’s King County, Betsey Cooper, told the Seattle Times,
You have treatment doing its best to remove these, chemically and biologically. But it’s not just the treatment quality, it’s also the amount that we use day to day and our assumption that it just goes away. But not everything goes away.
While the treatment plants are supposed to eradicate contaminants from the water, some drugs prove especially difficult to remove, such as ibuprofen and certain seizure drugs.
Unfortunately, the contamination levels likely won’t let up; according to one study, 97,000 pounds of drugs and chemicals could be entering the Puget Sound each year.
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