News this week from an Associated Press investigation that pharmaceuticals can be found in the drinking water of 41 million Americans came as no surprise to Calvin College professor David Wunder.
The AP study showed that antibiotics, anti-convulsants and more are found in drinking water. The concentrations are tiny and utilities insist their water is safe. But Wunder wonders.
An assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, Wunder is currently collaborating with Calvin students, the University of Minnesota and five water utilities (including Grand Haven) in a project largely funded by the American Waterworks Association Research Foundation on the fate and impact of pharmaceutical antibiotics in biofiltration processes used for drinking water treatment.
Prior to joining the Calvin faculty in 2004, he worked for 10 years as an environmental engineer in the areas of water supply and treatment and wastewater treatment.
"Our research is not focused directly on public health concerns," he said, "but rather is focused on the removal and impact of antibiotics in a certain kind of process that is used by some to produce safe drinking water. The results could have value for a relatively broad audience of engineers and scientists, but we are just beginning the work and do not have the results yet to make conclusions."
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