Streamline - Spring 2014 - (Page 21)

Proper Disposal of Pharmacy Products BY FRANK NADEAU, WASTEWATER TECHNICIAN Studies have shown that pharmaceuticals and over the counter drugs are present in our nation's water bodies and certain drugs may cause ecological harm. THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION Agency (EPA) has started talking about WWTP (Wastewater Treatment Plants) analyzing for pharmaceutical products. This is going to be time and money intensive. Analyses are going to be looking for dilutions down to 10-12(0.000000000001) or one part per 1,000,000,000,000. The laboratory equipment for conducting these analyses is going to be very high priced.So what can we do to save our systems for some of these costs? Education of our customers is one way we can reduce the amount of pharmaceuticals entering the waste stream. If they don't dump their unwanted or unused medications down the commode, they won't be coming into our plants. Many communities are establishing collection days and collection points for unwanted or unused prescription drugs. We, as Wastewater operators, Supervisors, Administrators, and Council Members, can begin this process by making our customers aware of what their rates are going to be if we have to start analyzing for these materials. I think the message will be very loud. "Congress has passed the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010 to give consumers a safe and responsible way to dispose of unused prescription drugs. Consumers currently seeking to reduce the amount of unwanted or expired prescription drugs in their homes have few disposal options, increasing the risk of drug abuse and poisonings. The 2010 Act seeks to reduce these risks by permitting individuals to deliver their unused medications to responsible state and private drug take-back programs. Up to 17 percent of prescribed medication goes unused, and if improperly disposed, may contribute to drug diversion and environmental problems. The bill would allow consumers to give controlled substances to specially designated individuals for disposal, such as law enforcement officials. It would also allow long-term care facilities to dispose of certain prescription drugs on behalf of their residents. Teenagers now abuse prescription drugs more than any other illegal drug except for marijuana, and the majority of teens get them for free, usually from friends and relatives, usually without their knowledge. Studies have shown that pharmaceuticals and over the counter drugs are present in our nation's water bodies and certain drugs may cause ecological harm. Outdated or unusable drugs that are disposed of by flushing or pouring down a sink, enter the environment because wastewater treatment facilities are not designed to remove them. Storing unused or outdated prescriptions creates an opportunity for illicit use. One in five teens report intentionally misusing someone else's prescription drugs to get high. Nearly half say they get the medications from friends or relatives for free, often by raiding the medicine cabinet or by attending "pharming parties" where teens barter legal drugs and get high. Do Not Flush, Do Not Pour Prescription, or over the counter medications should not be flushed down the toilet or poured down a sink. Follow these guidelines to dispose of these products properly: First, check with your local law enforcement to see if they have a drug collection program. Second, check to see if your community household hazardous waste program collects medications (They must have Law enforcement officials present) or if your community is holding a "Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet" event; and lastly if no collection options exist, follow these steps: 1. Remove all personal identification (especially prescription number) from prescription bottles; 2. Mix all unused drugs with coffee grounds, kitty litter, or other undesirable substance; 3. Place this mixture in a sealed container before disposing in the trash." Reprinted from Proper Medication Disposal, Utah Department of Health with permission. While I, personally, don't like this last suggestion, I couldn't find any other (more protective) method of getting rid of these materials. 21

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Streamline - Spring 2014

From the President
From the Executive Director
The Importance of an Immediate Response
What’s New in UV?
Proper Disposal of Pharmacy Products
Source Water Protection Notes
Ergs, Joules and Other Stuff
Establishing a Water Distribution System Flushing Program
Wastewater Math
Curtis Water Wins Big in D.C.
Throwing My Loop: Friends to Keep You Warm
eLearning Benefits
Membership Application
Do You Know What Your VRWA Benefits Are?
VRWA Mailbag
Welcome New Members
Training Calendar
Board of Directors
VRWA Committees
Index to Advertisers/

Streamline - Spring 2014