Picture of Making Medicinal All-Salt
Medicinal salt is a combination of sea salt and pharmaceuticals. Medicinal salt can be made by evaporating saltwater that contains pharmaceuticals from urban wastewater. Medicinal salt has not only a great natural salty taste, but can also address headaches, depression, infections, and a host of other common ailments. 

It's easy to make your own medicinal salt. The process involves finding a water treatment plant, harvesting its treated water output (effluent), building simple salt evaporation ponds, and collecting the dried sea salt.

What you need: 

a local water treatment plant
4 x 5 gallon buckets
wood: two 10ft 2x6"s for the length and two 6ft 2"x6" boards. We made 3 ponds, but one will suffice.
At least 35 square feet of 3mil - 6mil plastic sheet or heavy-duty pond lining (any color, but black will generate the most heat, which is good for evaporation)
staple gun and staples (3/8", 10mm)
1" wood screws
steel corner braces.
black gaffers tape

For more information on the salt we make go to
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Step 1: Find a Source

Picture of Find a Source
Find out if your local wastewater contains pharmaceuticals. Some information may be found on your local wastewater treatment plant's website, but specific information is generally not, and may only be in the form of reports or studies that your local wastewater treatment plant should be able to point you towards. Call your local plant, and ask if their wastewater contains what professionals and scientists call "pharmaceuticals and personal care product" contaminants (PPCP's): drugs and other industrial, agricultural, and domestic compounds, often classified as "emerging contaminants". 

Find out where your local wastewater treatment plant drains its treated wastewater - usually to a nearby stream or reservoir, lake or river, beach, or bay. This information may be on the plant's website, but you may also need to call to ask. You can also uses Google maps' satellite view to see a plant's treatment facilities and grounds in order to locate drainage channels or sloughs coming from the plant.

We found our source in San Jose, CA on the Artesian Slough that comes from the San Jose/Santa Clara Water Pollution Control Plant.
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Qcks10 months ago

Ehhh.... This was obviously not serious when he basically said "Sewage" on page one. Waste water is sewage.

That all said, there is some interesting bits. IF you're really getting those compounds out of that water, then the native bacterial populations there have developed resistance to those antibiotics. That makes them easy to isolate.

shahzaib111 year ago

Im glad to see that people are actually writing about this issue in such
a smart way, showing us all different sides to it. Please keep it up.

CrayfishYAY2 years ago
At 1st, I believed the creator. But then, I read the comments. : l
How-To: Pharmaceutical-Rich All-Salt
This is not only a serious farce...but a joke. It was never meant to be serious. why was this posted as a CRAFT feature????

There are several reasons why it is a farce...and as one who has been studying WATER ever since I won the Save My Oceans Contest...The piece on the CRAFT blog for September 18 2010 should be removed!

1. No water reclamation plant does anything but treat the leftover dredged chemicals in the untreated as extreme bio hazards.

2. The outstandingly complex array of pharmatcueticals would combine for deadly consequences if injested. Just take a look at all these articles:

3. I am an avid follower and promoter of the CRAFT blog...but this sure makes the blog lose all least for today. I feel total shame for whoever passed this as a feature.
Hey there, I'm the one who posted it on CRAFT, I called the project "cheeky," clearly didn't intend to "pass it as a feature." We post lots of stuff every day, not everything is a CRAFT original project. And anyway, part of why this art project is so successful is that it makes you say "wait, is this for real?"
Hi Bekathwia, this is hilarious, I'd really like to talk to you about it for a radio programme we're producing on drugs. Would you be able to drop me a line with your contact number so we can have a chat? My email address is
I understand. However I know that some did not. there are many gullible folks out there. I still think that Craft putting it up mixed in with their regular features was a tad irresponsible. i could understand if it was featured on Tree Hugger or another environmental green blog. That would get the environmental folks (me) chuckling and thinking, "Hey thats a good joke here."

However, the placement on a craft blog as a serious topic, and the link to the "product" was very realistic . it was brought to my attention from a couple of folks on facebook. They thought it was a real product.

Don't dilute the excellent CRAFT brand was an irresponsible moment.
Please pass this along . Thanks.
Irresponsible? I'm responsible for spreading the word about projects we as a team find interesting and thought-provoking, not for writing disclaimers about art projects. Worst case scenario is that it takes some folks longer than others to "get it." Not everyone has to like every single post or project, glad you like most of the rest of them! =]
This is an extremely inappropriate venue for this sort of satire. Mixed right in the middle of the serious fare... When did this become a comedy site. I love instructables for its usefulness. This is just nonsense.
I actually find this instructable quite useful.
It's a lighthearted, humorous way to bring to light certain issues pertaining to drinking-water. I laughed, and then forwarded this to a few people who I know are doing research on these very same issues. I have no doubt they will laugh too. The point, I gather, isn't that it's merely a joke or satire, but a humorous/satirical tool to spread awareness. There's a difference.
I agree. However in platform of featuring on Craft is where I was alerted to. since I won the Save My Oceans contest on CRAFT, I thought to make a point clear.

It was a serious commentary hidden in a completely unrelated platform. I have never seen this done before on Craft is all. It was not light hearted and humorous IMO. There were folks that emailed me and wondered if it was for real. They believed it. They were confused.

"Light hearted and humorous is a lego halloween costume, or bacon printed purses. Let us peacefully agree to disagree. (((Hugs)))

Perhaps the article could end with some indication that is was a farce/joke, that would probably be more then enough for most of readers. What we might not want is to cutoff playfulness that fuels creativity - the foundations of every Instructables article - by turning the whole site into a full blown serious affair.
EXACTLY well said Cafepollution. I think that would be great both for the Craft feature and the Instructable.
You may need to step out of your group of friends and hang out with some other folk for awhile... there really ARE people that would take this seriously. Think: How about mentally instable people who are already on a bunch of meds already? Know a couple? I've met many. "Gee, my Pharms cost me hundreds a month, and I can just get them from the water treatment plant for FREE? THAT"S WONDERFUL!" They already rely on other people to tell them what to take... visit internet medical sites regularly... hypochondriacs. "These guys sure know what they're doing!"... they don't understand artistic interpretation or satire.

I love the idea, and the point, but you have to take a little bit of responsibility for how you get it across. You're obviously intelligent, think things all the way through!

Simple disclaimer: THIS IS NOT A REAL INSTRUCTABLE. THIS IS MEANT... (state a simple point.)
Oh you're right. I have no doubt that there are people who believe this is a great idea. However, I believe my point was that there is very little chance that someone would get through this week-long process before someone informed them of their error. Even if they did, it wouldn't be long before they were corrected. Perhaps I am giving the world too much credit when I say that. Surely our collective intelligence is high enough to figure this one out. This isn't dangerous enough to warrant censorship, or even a disclaimer.
But... the instructable is so far-fetched that explaining it would be like trying to explain the punch-line of a joke to someone.

The last step mentions 13 different drugs that are in the waste water. The odds are pretty slim that someone would decide that it would be a good idea to consume 13 drugs of unknown dosages by extracting them from WASTE water, and then proceed to follow this instructable.
Even if someone were to believe that this is a legitimately good idea, the odds of someone not telling them that it isn't before they completed the 3-7 day process are also slim.

This instructable is harmless. If this was something that could be done in an hour, or an afternoon... then I might be a LITTLE worried that someone, somewhere, was clueless enough to try this.
Thank you JFrazer1. Well said.
This was foolish.

I encourage the young ones to read the stuff found here.
I am trusted, now you are not.

I work at a waste treatment plant but I
Guess I just didn’t get it.... Am I un-cool?
I'm disappointed. Don't you have better things to do?
I have followed Craft since its inception. I was one of the first subscribers to the p[roint publication also. Never seen something featured that was a farce. Thats all I am saying...if Craft regulary did this...tongue-in-cheek farces and would make sense. People pretty much follow CRAFT to the letter.

Thats why it was brought to my attention, and I thought I would say something about it. It was portrayed so realistically with the link and all. it did not seem like an art project nor an intellectually related topic one usually finds on Craft.

I , as a American, did not know the word "cheeky" meant joke, farce, or satire, and I know others did not "get" it either.

Again, I look at craft and Instructibles daily. Have never seen a farce, joke, satire before. It has nothing to do with being "original" or not. and for the slange term "cheeky" I just don't know your British slang meanings.
I don't suppose you expected quite the negative reaction you got. Clearly, it was in the wrong place. Putting it in Craft did blindside people who were looking for a legitimate posting. I'm always on the lookout for something that will offer relief for some of my health problems. I was disappointed, but I was wrong to ask if you didn't have something better to do. Sorry. I have never liked practical jokes.
Next time, put up a disclaimer and an invitation to those who would like to discuss the topic with you, and add links. This seems, to me, to be the next step. After all, there were quite a few who "got it" in a more positive way.
I so agree. and Instructibles featured it AGAIN yesterday. Can you believe this nonsense? No disclaimer this time either.

Wrong venue. When I want satire I will read the weekly world news, or the Onion.
I pay $25.00 to be a pro member of Instructibles to learn, not read "cheeky" erroneous information.

mpeters23 years ago
Hiya, I'm really interested in speaking to the person who posted this piece - I'm a radio producer and would like to try and set up an interview with you about it.
Could you please let me know how to get in touch for a chat? My email address is


dh5213 years ago
During my travels for work, I frequently visit second and third world nations that do not treat their waste-water and rarely have access to pharmaceuticals. What types of salts could I expect to obtain from their water supplies?
omnibot dh5213 years ago
Just the cheap regular stuff. Sadly, third world countries often do not understand the need to enrich natures bounty with healthy chemicals.
fcanaan4 years ago
The last thing we need in here in more people stifling creativity and humor, just in case someone (in this case, only a total idiot) could hurt themselves. Its part of life, if a person doesn't have the common sense to know that, they are in deep trouble on this site anyway. Yes ironsmitter, and urbanwoodswalker, im pretty much talking to you two. Relax guys. Take it with a grain of salt even.
It's not 'stifling creativity and humor' to put this sort of nonsense up with the regular feature. It destroys the credibility of this site. Context matters, and this is not the proper context for this sort of material. Are you hoping this will turn in to the "The Onion" of craft sites? Notice that The Onion is only this sort of material... if it mixed in serious material with their joke material they would be asking for trouble.
ilpug JFrazer13 years ago
instructables and websites like it are created, run, and used by smart people. smart people usually have an idea of what "ironic humor" is. this artical does not degrade the site. the only thing i might have done differently had i done this Instructable would have been to write "and by the way this is all BS" at the end. if you dont like the website now, then fine. you can leave. i understand the "be nice policy," but i feel that its not nice for you to rain on everyones parade.
Really? I think is a pretty obvious farce, that is LOADED with interesting processes, ideas, and other maker/crafter goodness. Despite the fact the it should be completely obvious to anyone with any sense at all, its still a really good illustration of a few things:
1. how salt is made(ok, collected)
2. The freaking obvious lunacy of flushing drugs down the drain
3. how completely doped to the gills we are as a society
4. Why pollution is so bad
5. and lastly what a bunch of "oh god! dont color outside of the lines" over-reactive crafters there are floating around.

The idea that a little tongue and cheek humor when mixed with a good dose science will degrade a site with the "credibilty"(are you freaking kidding me?) of this site, is laughable.. Go put on your helmet, knee pads, shin guards, cup, supporter, steel toed boots, and pepper spray so you can safely face the outside world, and go make something.
Sorry fcanaan, and any others that think this is ok. It isn't/wasn't for me. As someone who uses salt for medicinal & healing purposes (e.g. mouthwash, astringent, etc.), the title "Medicinal All-Salt" completely hooked me and it wasn't until I read ALL the way through the article that I had to question it.

This isn't a "structable" as much as a "look at what is happening."

Great! Maybe they could have embedded links to "look at what is happening" in a better "structable" for a science/environment/awareness experiment for kids.

I do not come to instructables for "shock, awe and hype, farces."

This is a poor example, but what if I ask my intelligent kids to try this and trusting them to perform the steps safely they accomplished it and then without filling me in completely about the drugs involved, my family used this stuff. Or, they made it as a gift not fully understanding the implications of the drugs involved.

Yeah, yeah, yeah.....irresponsible of me NOT to be present or be fully aware of the able/drugs involved. But, hell, the steps are so simple my kids could say "Dad, I found this cool able to make salt and it doesn't involve any dangerous acts. Can we make it?" Knowing and trusting my kids, my canned answer would be "Sure."

Do you really think that the entire instructable population is completely aware of everything dangerous?

Instructables is....was one place I knew I could come for honest community knowledge. Now I have to filter Onion-esque titles and ables?!

Oh, and to your last comment(s), you're gonna chastise someone for wanting/wishing to be safe? As I am retired infantry, all the equipment you listed is exactly what military service members wear when performing many hazardous duties to defend freedom of speech. From your intonation, you don't think highly of anyone who doesn't believe in "safety" and "responsibility" as you do. Are those the comments you would make at someone's eulogy? Or, to an amputee?

In truth, I want to lambaste you for those comments. BUT, I keep looking at the "be nice" comment policy banner and ponder if you noticed it.

However, kudos to Wicken, ironsmiter, technosmechno1, and piperjon below.

Ok, let me peel your onion of BS for you.

1. "What if I ask my intelligent kids": Easy, if your kids are age appropriate for a lot of things on this site, and they told you that "doesnt involve anything dangerous", you kids would be liars as well as unintelligent. The words "Drugs" are littered all over the article. Nor would you be considered intelligent if you just asked your kids to do it without reading it first. Thats what you get with canned answers.

2. "Do you really think that the entire instructable population is..": No, i dont, but if you are going to try something, here it comes again, use some common sense.. It pretty easy to read an article and all its steps, and find where there could be dangers. Using fire? Things get hot? Using chemicals? Use protection? CLEARLY EXTRACTING HARMFUL SUBSTANCES, well, DONT EAT IT.

3. "Oh, and my last comments": No, i would never chastise someone for wanting to be safe. Im not really sure where you got that. People should always be as safe as they can. I just cant connect how the heck you would read _that_ article and think "oh, that sounds perfectly safe, i'll try it!" As for amputees, i know a few, and most of them are machinists. They will be the first to admit that they are missing pieces because they did something stupid, and had they died from it, would want the fact they died being stupid, to be in the eulogy.

Kikko, accept a smidge of personal responsibilty, make sure to learn those intelligent kids of yours real good, and be safe.
I am glad that you think that everyone else is at the same level of intelligence, education and a high level of common sense as you. That is an admirable quality.

Too bad it didn't bleed over to courtesy. Calling my kids "liars" and "unintelligent" was an outstanding vector to win me over to your rebuttal. In fact, the simplicity of your comments makes me review "common" sense and wonder what is so common about it.

Clearly every person in the world can understand a gun once they have witnessed its awesome/destructive power. And even still, people with shop (wood, metal, whatever) safety classes tuck securely under their belts can become complacent and lose a finger. Shoot, folks with advanced degrees often make simple "common sense" mistakes and hopefully walk away with no, or minor, injuries. And, lastly, once you earn a valid drivers license, everyone is then prepared for ALL the "common sense" situations that may arise during their lifetime.

WHOA! WAIT! Gun accidents, your friends with missing appendages, teenage car accidents, lab accidents, adults/kids trying instructables not aware of the dangers, etc. Common sense is a learned event. Possibly occurring from stories told to you. Possibly education, if they state disclaimers and dangerous actions. But, IMHO, from life experiences. So the commonality of common sense is a learned event.

So, my lying and unintelligent kids have the same life experiences as you, not to mention me? No, I don't think so. You and I do not even have the same experiences, so there is very little common between our common sense.

*sigh* The point is, the instructable, tongue-in-cheek or not, is nearly so convincing that 1) many adults could, and DID, miss the irony. That filter ALONE coupled with the facts 2) MANY kids have access to instructbales, 3) it was FEATURED as a health able (read that as benefiting health), and 4) common sense ISN"T as common as YOU/WE wish; the potential for distress is too great to be considered a responsible act by anyone with (catch the irony) COMMON SENSE. Instructables was not created to promote Darwin awards (IMO).

You wish to respond, so be it. I won't after this. Consider yourself the winner in this disagreement. I am completely chastened by your greater understanding of the world and my lying kids apologize for ever being misrepresented by their crummy father and their (un)intelligent/thought(less/ful) ways. CYA

Im not trying to win anything. All im saying is keep your mouth shut when it comes to content on this site you dont like. You cant control it, and thank god for that. Your histrionics dont help this already too freaked out world. No instuctibles was not designed to promote the Darwin awards, but from the number of people who thought this was a serious instructable, a lot of people here are on that path anyway. And who are we to stop them?
rookie1 fcanaan4 years ago
Of course it's a farce. Of course it's obvious. I could care less if you want to color outside the lines, more power to you, but this is not your soap box, it's a place where people who are interested in DIY projects come to read about and share things that interest them.
My, My, you really are impressed with your wit. Jr. High? try stand up. I have health problems and am always looking for relief. I'm just sorry you wasted my time.
Sorry I know there is a nice policy, but facts are facts. I did suggest stand up as a constructive option. Here's another. Start your own blog instead of piggybacking on other peoples work. If I've gone over the top by not being nice, I'll say I'm sorry to the group, but not to fcanaan.
fcanaan rookie14 years ago
Odd, too have you standing on a soapbox, telling me this isnt a soapbox. What the heck do you think a comments section is? I dont think you have to worry about the nice policy with that response. I cant say I have found any of this not-nice, its just discourse. Im sorry you wasted your time too, actually no, im not. You obviously dont have much else to be doing, like myself, if you are hanging around here commenting as well. Im not funny, im not witty, and Im not trying to impress any of you here. There are real people in a real world I am much more concerned about, you all are just entertainment..
rookie1 fcanaan4 years ago
I'm done. He's missed the point. I'll just check the names on the projects better. It won't keep me from enjoying this site. We've fed his high opinion of himself and low opinion of anyone else long enough.
I'm bored of this argument can we start a new one?
Here! Here! Excellent idea, onto the next rabble. Thats what i love about the interwebs. In all seriousness, thanks to everyone, its actually really reassuring to see that people care about this site enough to sit around and squabble about it. When people dont care about things, they tend not to stand up to them.. Sorry if any feeling were hurt, thats not what I'm here for. Keep on making, and remember: Measure twice, cut once.
You did help alleviate some of my boredom. Internet comment crusaders, onward!
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