Your Septic System on Drugs Recently the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced a ban on certain over-the-counter consumer antiseptic wash products that contain triclosan, the active ingredient in most antibacterial soaps. Effective September 6, 2017, this ban also includes 18 other chemicals found in hand and body washes. The concern is two-fold: there is strong concern that the overuse of antibiotics will generate new antibiotic-resistant microorganisms, and there little understanding about triclosan’s fate in wastewater treatment systems. However, triclosan is not the only product of concern - if you are on a medication, so is your septic system. Oral medications have to be digested before the active ingredients can enter the bloodstream and be transported within the body. For many medications, only 20% of the active ingredient provides a clinical benefit (clearing a sinus infection or providing pain relief) while the remainder is metabolized and excreted from the body – mostly in the urine. This presentation will focus on pharmaceuticals and personal care products that enter septic systems and investigate the difficulties of removing these compounds out of the water.
Associate Professor, Biosystems Engineering & Soil Science
The University of Tennessee, Institute of Agriculture
Professor, Department of Geology, Baylor University