February 2008, Vol. 20, No.2
More Frequent Analysis Needed for Microconstituents
I find [“Wastewater Reveals Illicit Drug Patterns,” December] extremely interesting since I have helped local drug enforcement officers sample specific houses to collect evidence for a search warrant. Most of the last 25 years, I have been working as an environmental technologist for the City of Calgary. My training and experience have been in the area of low-level analysis.
In general, I have been concerned about the lack of major ion analysis and analysis of toxins that we receive in the wastewater at the plant. We analyze major ions only once a week, and when we have an upset due to some toxin to the plant, we never know what anion or cation could be associated with the toxic material. I find these trace-level analyses of illicit organic compounds would be just as important at the effluent of the plant. In our case we are discharging to a world-class trout fishing river, and the pharmaceuticals are of interest to me due to the contamination of the biota and for the downstream users. It would also be an indicator of how effectively the plant is able to remove these compounds.
City of Calgary (Alberta)
In an ongoing discussion on wastewater treatment plants in films, I thought I would also mention a recent comedy film featuring a rooftop fight in “New York City” between NYC firemen played by actors Kevin James and Adam Sandler. In the background, what to my wondering eyes should appear, but the egg-shaped digesters from the Hyperion WWTP in Los Angeles … busted!!!
Wayne A. Schutz
Derry Township Municipal Authority
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