Meliora’s Cleaning Products founder, and resident Environmental Engineer (with a focus on wastewater management), Kate explained what is, and what is not filtered out of our tap water in a recent post:
“Waste Water Treatment Plants in the United States of America work based on a ‘priority list‘ of pollutants that are set by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), and this is a very specific list that includes items with high toxicity (e.g. benzene, lead, mercury). The treatment plants are designed to remove these priority pollutants, but they are not designed for removing items that aren’t on the priority list.
As a result, several substances, including various pharmaceuticals, are not fully removed from the process. The only way to change this is to update the EPA’s list of priority pollutants or stop adding the pollutants themselves to the wastewater.
We’ve seen semi-successful campaigns telling people not to flush their expired drugs down the drain because our wastewater infrastructure is not designed to remove them. Same thing goes for kitty litter, like what we’ve seen happen in the state of California.
I wonder if we will see a similar effort to avoid flushing PVA in the future.”
“Laundry pods and laundry sheets made with polyvinyl alcohol (PVA or PVOH) as an ingredient contain plastic. It’s a water-soluble plastic, but plastic nonetheless.”
Do you know if this actually breaks down in nature or in the wastewater treatment plant? Find out, read the full post at Meliora Cleaning Products.
This is yet another reason to avoid tap water. Drink and cook with filtered water. If you live in a place without infrastructure or access to filtered water, consider building your own filtering system. Aqueous Solutions is doing brilliant work to figure out how to filter not only biological contaminants, but all other contaminants as well.