The ubiquity of pharmaceuticals poses the danger that, whether through improper disposal or through human waste, they will make their way into wastewater and then into the environment or recycled water supplies. Luckily, our scientists and water suppliers are well aware of this potential problem and are monitoring, testing, and treating their water supplies to eliminate pharmaceutical contamination. 

In our cover story, Dr. Chance Lauderdale tells us about HDR’s research and work into water purity issues. Dr. David Rexing gives us a glimpse into Southern Nevada Water Authority’s robust compliance and research laboratories. Jason Dadakis of California’s Orange County Water District tells us about how his district ensures that its Groundwater Replenishment System prevents pharmaceuticals and other constituents from entering the groundwater it manages. And Alfred Javier and Roxanne Rountree tell us about Eastern Municipal Water District’s Sewer Smart Program, which helps prevent pharmaceutical contamination on the user end through public education. 

We also feature three stories of pipeline construction. Ethan Edwards and Timothy Robins of the City of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, bring us up to speed on a major sewer trunk line replacement. We also speak with Frank Ferris of the Texas consulting engineering firm Ferris, Flinn & Medina about the company’s work on water conservation projects, including the installation of a major pipeline. Finally, we interview Ryan Ard of the Lower Neches Valley Authority about a logistically challenging infrastructure project at a location where a drainage ditch, a canal, and a private farm access road all converge at the same point. 

As this issue demonstrates, municipal water and wastewater service providers are staying on the cutting edge—whether by updating their infrastructure or by remaining aware of the risks posed by pharmaceuticals and other constituents of emerging concern. 

Kris Polly is editor-in-chief of Municipal Water Leader magazine and president and CEO of Water Strategies LLC, a government relations firm he began in February 2009 for the purpose of representing and guiding water, power, and agricultural entities in their dealings with Congress, the Bureau of Reclamation, and other federal government agencies. He may be contacted at