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Recycled water may flood urban parks with dangerous germs

With irrigation, drug resistance genes swamp the soil

DIRTY WATER  Soil in urban parks that use reclaimed water for irrigation may have high numbers of drug-resistant microbes.

Sprinkling city parks with recycled water may create a breeding ground for hard-to-treat microbes. In a survey of parks in seven Chinese cities, researchers found that parks irrigated with treated wastewater were awash in signs of drug-resistant germs.

Even after the recycled water is treated in a sewage plant, it may carry microbes, drug-resistance genes and antibiotics that had washed down the drain. Sprayed into the environment, that water can spread microbes that could cause difficult-to-treat infections, the researchers say.

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