How safe is your water? - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

How safe is your water?

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March 10, 2008

Albany --  A new Associated Press investigation found pharmaceuticals, including antibiotics, mood stabilizers, and sex hormones in the drinking water supplies for 41 million Americans.  

Atlanta is among those cities, but the news is better for us. We put Albany's water to the test to find out what's done in south Georgia to keep the water from your tap safe.         

It looks clean when you turn on your tap, but it might be what you can't see that has millions worried.  A vast array of pharmaceuticals has been found in drinking water for 24 metropolitan areas.  Water, Gas, and Light officials say the unique way we get our water from aquifers in south Georgia may keep you safe.

"We're very fortunate that that's common in Dougherty County to have the limestone barriers that act like a huge sponge if you will that absorb just about everything but the water," said WG&L's Assistant General Manager of Operations Keith Goodin.

But to be safe, Water, Gas, and Light also sends about 50 samples every month to the Environmental Protection Division in Atlanta to be tested for many agents including pharmaceuticals.  

"We test for all synthetic compounds and volatile compounds we also test for organic volatile compounds so I feel certain that's covered," said Goodin.

To date, they've never had any negative results.  Local Pharmacists say they're not surprised by the recent findings in fact we have only ourselves to blame, it's often the pills we take and throw out that's causing the problem.

"The medication that passes through our bodies that also enter into the water system and it doesn't get broken down for some time," said Phillips Pharmacy owner Gary Phillips.  

While there are many questions about what the long term affect may be, right now there are few answers. "We're talking about parts per billion, we're talking about a very minute amounts, but over time how is it going to affect us, how does it affect our environment how does it affect the aquatic life?" asked Phillips.

Water Gas and Light says the water that comes from the aquifer is pure, but they add chlorine to it as a precaution along with fluoride.

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