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Researchers Find Antibiotic Resistant Genes Prevalent in Groundwater

As policymakers look urgently to wastewater recycling to stem the gap in water resources, the question is– how best to reuse water and ensure public safety. New and emerging contaminants like antibiotic resistant genes (ARGs) pose a potential hazard to public safety and water security. One concern is the spread of ARGs through the water system and an increase in development of antibiotic-resistant super bugs.  Adam Smith, Assistant Professor in the Sonny Astani Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Southern California, and a team of researchers including Moustapha Harb, an Assistant Professor at Lebanese American University and USC Viterbi School of Engineering Ph.D. students Phillip Wang and Ali Zarei-Baygi, studied and compared samples from an advanced groundwater treatment facility in Southern California and groundwater aquifers to detect differences in ARG concentrations. While they found that the advanced groundwater treatment facility reduced nearly all targeted ARGs to below detection limits, groundwater samples had a ubiquitous presence of ARGs in both control locations and locations recharged with water from the advanced water treatment facility.  Read more.....



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