Clearly we need to be very, very worried about what could be getting into our tap water.
News reports in the past week or so in the American media tell of a so-called “nightmare bacteria” that apparently kills almost half of its victims being found in a wastewater treatment plant in Southern California. Even worse, it seems there is nothing sewage plants can do to kill it - chlorine does not work.
One report, cited by pollutiononline.com, said "researchers at the Environmental Protection Agency recently found something in a Los Angeles sewage plant that should not be in a sewage plant. Amid millions of gallons of raw sewage that Southern Californians spew into the sewer plants every day, there was a strain of a super-lethal super bug floating around — the same one that sickened seven people and killed two in a Los Angeles hospital last year".
The Los Angeles Times named the superbug as carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae, or CRE, and said that the EPA had declined the reveal the name of the waste water treatment plant. The newspaper quoted Pedro Alvarez, a professor of environmental engineering at Rice University, a scientist who has studied the problem, as saying: “A growing number of studies show sewage plants can't kill the superbugs. Instead the facilities serve as ‘a luxury hotel’ for drug-resistant bacteria, a place where they thrive and grow stronger".
CRE traditionally has been a hospital-related problem, but if it is now spreading it poses a rising threat beyond hospitals, and pollutiononline.com said experts worry about the risk to swimmers and surfers in the ocean near where treated wastewater is discharged. It also makes us nervous about the consequences should it make its way into our residential water systems and highlights the growing need to have efficient point-of-use water purifiers in our homes and workspaces like those from Bluewater that can deal with such threats!