Thirty million people depend on the Rhine for their drinking water, and 37 % of the drinking water in the Netherlands comes from rivers. Drinking water is to a certain extent contaminated with residues from prescription drugs (pharmaceuticals). It is therefore of great importance to improve our understanding of this process of contamination. To this end, researchers from TU Delft have collaborated with Het Waterlaboratorium (the Water Laboratory) to link water quality in the River Rhine to demographic data from the area. They hope that this will provide them with a detailed picture of the impact of local inhabitants on the river’s water quality.
From the source to Lobith
They took water samples at 42 points along the river. These points were spaced at intervals of 20–30 kilometres. The researchers started near the source of the Rhine and ended just before Lobith, at the Dutch–German border. They then examined the concentrations of a large number of pharmaceuticals, including certain insomnia medications and anti-depressives. These pharmaceutical residues are passed into the sewer water through urine, eventually ending up in the Rhine.
Read more at: Phys.org