Pharmaceuticals in the Water Supply

Spotsylvania County shares your concerns about news stories regarding the possibility of the existence of pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) in the environment and water supply.

Facts

  • Spotsylvania County’s Department of Utilities/Public Works primary objective is the protection of public health through the delivery of high-quality drinking water.
  • The county and other water professionals around the world are researching the occurrence of PPCPs compounds in drinking water supplies and we are paying close attention to health effects research in this area. The research has shown that there is no evidence of human health concern.
  • To date, there are no approved methods for detecting personal care products and pharmaceuticals in drinking water.
  • There are no federal or state regulations dealing with PPCPs in the water.
  • As we continue to develop better methods for detection, we will be able to identify more compounds at lower levels. While these compounds may be detected at very low levels in water, people regularly consume or expose themselves to products containing these compounds in much higher concentrations through medicines, food and beverages, and other sources. The level in which they are found in water is very small in comparison and does not mean the substance is harmful to humans.

Concerns

What can consumers do if they are concerned about substances in their drinking water? The best and most cost-effective way to ensure safe water at the tap is to keep our source waters clean. As a society, we should encourage policies that protect source water from contaminants introduced by human activity. Consumers should never flush unused medications down the toilet or sink. 

Instead, consumers should check to see if their pharmacy accepts medications for disposal, or contact their local health department for information about the proper disposal of medications and other materials that could potentially harm the environment, such as cleaning products, pesticides, and automotive products.

For More Information

Please visit the American Water Works Association's DrinkTap website to learn more about this subject. If you have any questions or concerns, please call the Utilities Department at 540-507-7300.