Drugs in Central Indiana Sewage: Are They a Threat?

Editor’s Note: The following is part of a class project originally initiated in the fall of 2021 in the classroom of Professor Adam Kuban at Ball State University. Continuing the project last fall, Kuban challenged his students to find sustainability efforts in the Muncie area and pitch their ideas to Deanna Watson, editor of The Star Press, Journal & Courier and Pal-Item. Several such stories were featured in November and December 2022.

MUNCIE, Indiana – Upon entering the Muncie wastewater treatment plant, the smell of hydrogen sulfide fills the air. The waste water goes through one process after another, removing dirt and sand, E. Coli and ammonia.

If you climbed a few steps and overlooked the White River, you could see how what was once sewage got to its final destination and poured into the river.

Despite these treatments, there is still a chance that small doses of medicines will be left behind when it leaves the facility and returns to its natural home.

“The most important thing is that there is absolutely nothing in it [the plant] remove pharmaceuticals,” said Rick Conrad, director of the Bureau of Water Quality.