Wastewater; what was once simple can and has become complicated and intertwined with our food chain and ecosystem.
The Issue of dangerous chemical compounds being in our drinking water supply, as alluded the Cradle to Cradle reading, has actually affected cities and towns along the rim of Lake Michigan. Most famously Chicago, IL.
Situated on the shores of Lake Michigan. The city dumps its combined flow wastewater/stormwater into the same body of water it utilizes as its main drinking source.
While the intake and discharge points are at different locations throughout the Lakeshore, the effects of the continual dumping have had an adverse effect on the quality of the drinking water and the biological ecosystem of the lake1.
Residual chemicals derived from the medical pill ingestion are starting to show up in the drinking supply sourced from the lake, as well as in the wildlife which live in the lake and use it’s estuaries.
The problems associated with our modern day practices of flushing ‘it’ down the toilet (from Household cleaners, Industrial chemicals, Biological waste, etc.) are having an adverse impact on the quality of our ecosystems because our methods aren’t keeping pace with what we pour down the drain.
No longer is this a simple matter that could be resolved with a simple beach/lake cleanup or the relocation of a chemical plant. Our system of treating wastewater hasn’t evolved to effectively treat what is now being discharged for nature to resolve, leading to harmful bi-products in what we drink and potentially in what we eat.
Overall, it’s time to revisit how we expel our waste and find better methods of treatment, as the simple idea of diluting wastewater in a vast body of water, isn’t capable of dealing with our more complex needs as a society.
- “What’s in your Water” Chicago Tribune, April 18, 2008 http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-08-06/health/ct-met-drinking-water-pharmaceuticals20110806_1_rebecca-klaper-drinking-water-prescription-drugs