March 10, 2008

Lake Michigan dilutes drugs in Racine's water

This story is out today about pharmaceuticals in drinking water supplies around the country. Racine doesn't have to worry about being drugged by its drinking water, said Keith Haas, general manager of Racine's water and wastewater utilities.

The reason: Lake Michigan is really, really big. Like cities around the country, it's all but certain there are traces of drugs in Racine's drinking water, Haas said. But because our water comes from Lake Michigan, the traces amount to a minuscule portion of our water supply.

Cities that pull their water from rivers or smaller bodies have a bigger problem. There is less water to dilute the drugs, which means there's a greater concentration of pharmaceuticals coming out of the tap.

Haas said he knew the AP story was coming out about drugs in U.S.'s water supply. "It's something we've been aware of and concerned about," he said.

"Our fresh water source is a large source of clean drinking water," Haas said. "If we were pulling water out of ... a river or small body, our concentrations would be be greater."

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