MONTREAL – A new study says drinking water in parts of southern Ontario contains traces of several illegal drugs – including cocaine.
Researchers at McGill University found water discharged from waste-water treatment plants in the Grand River watershed has the potential to contaminate sources of drinking water with drugs such as morphine, cocaine and oxycodone.
The study – published in the journal Environmental Toxicology & Chemistry – says the drugs are found only in relatively limited quantities in the river water.
However, it notes their concentration did not decline with distance downstream from the waste-water treatment plant and says many of the drugs were not removed completely during drinking-water treatment.
Lead author Prof. Viviane Yargeau of McGill’s Department of Chemical Engineering says improving waste-water treatment processes can help clean up drinking water.
Yargeau says the results of the study demonstrate a link between waste-water plant discharges and quality of drinking-water sources.