The sewer that snitches

Your toilet is a tattletale. Scientists say they can determine illicit drug use—from marijuana to heroin to cocaine—by sampling sewage.

The technique has been tried in at least 10 U.S. cities, ranging from towns with populations hovering around 17,000 people to medium-size cities of 600,000. Or as many as 30 cities including San Diego?

Flushing out human urinary biomarkers at Scientific American blog.

AP reports an entire community can be given a drug test using just a teaspoon of wastewater. Oregon will test at least 40 communities. The EPA has a program to evaluate legal drugs leaking into waterways. Drug enforcement agencies say little except that probes are not being used at households.

Here’s a chart showing the main contents of urine. It’s the most difficult component to remove from wastewater. Despite making up only 1 per cent of the volume of wastewater, urine contributes about 80 per cent of the nitrogen and 45 per cent of all the phosphate.