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New study finds that even the cleanest wastewater contains ‘super bacteria’

CYNDY COLE and JOE FERGUSON Sun Staff Reporters
New tests have confirmed in Flagstaff what researchers in Minnesota first observed:

that even highly treated wastewater might contain trace elements of gene material from dead bacteria resistant to some widely used antibiotics.

One scientist said this week he would be more concerned if the resistant material was in live, viable bacteria that had survived the treatment process.
But until such DNA is destroyed, it raises unanswered questions about whether even DNA fragments in the treated effluent are a threat to human health.
It also raises political and financial questions about whether a small city will investigate matters on the cutting edge of science — and how to pay for it.
Flagstaff officials stated on Tuesday that they would not immediately launch an inquiry.

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