Ontario Pipeline - Fall 2013 - (Page 31)

FEATURE | SOURCE WATER DON’T FLUSH … YOUR DRUGS! KEEP OUR SOURCE WATERS CLEAN TOM LINARDOS BY CHRISTOPHER HILKENE President, Clean Water Foundation W ater and waste water operators in Ontario work hard to ensure that Ontarians receive clean, safe and reliable drinking water. They employ the technologies and expertise necessary so we, as consumers, can have confidence in our drinking water. What they cannot do is control the quality of the sources of our drinking water. That responsibility rests with each and every one of us. One thing we can all do to protect our source waters is return our unused and unwanted medications to a local pharmacy for proper disposal. In Ontario, most pharmacies take back unused and unwanted medications. Unfortunately, many Ontarians don’t know this is an option and improperly dispose of their medications by flushing them down the toilet or putting them in the garbage, where they can potentially end up back in our source waters. Small, but measurable, levels of different drugs are being detected in both our surface and ground waters. While these amounts are very small, they may still have an impact on aquatic ecosystems and the species that call those ecosystems home. Keeping these products out of landfills and water helps to keep our lakes and rivers contaminant free. Earlier this year, the Ontario Clean Water Agency and the Clean Water Foundation launched Prescription for Clean Water, an outreach and education effort to encourage Ontarians to return their unused and wanted medications to a local pharmacy. Prescription for Clean Water uses both traditional and new media to educate Ontarians on the need for proper disposal of unused and unwanted medications as well as help them identify the closest participating pharmacy. Some Ontario municipalities are sending out Prescription for Clean Water materials with water bills. Others are using the online resources available through the Ontario Clean Water Agency’s and the Clean Water Foundations’ websites and social media. In addition, the Prescription for Clean Water team has been participating in local events to raise awareness, and in some cases, collect waste pharmaceuticals (in conjunction with a local pharmacy). In addition to protecting our source waters, there are many other reasons to take back expired or unwanted medications to your local pharmacy, including accidental poisoning by children and an increasing problem with prescription drug abuse. Unused or expired medications in medicine cabinets increase the supply of dangerous drugs that are a leading cause of child and teen overdose. Proper disposal of pharmaceuticals protects families and the environment. For more information on Prescription for Clean Water, and to locate a participating pharmacy near you, visit ocwa.com/pharma or cleanwaterfoundation.org/prescription. html. O N T A R I O P I P E L I N E | FALL 2013 | 31 http://www.ocwa.com/pharma http://www.cleanwaterfoundation.org/prescription.html

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Ontario Pipeline - Fall 2013

From the Publications Chair
The OWWA Report
The OMWA Report
The OWWEA Report
From Our AWWA Director
Using Social Media to Enhance Water Effi ciency, Public Education and Outreach
Engaging Residents through Social Media
WaterISAC – An Essential Part of Your Water or Wastewater Utility’s Security and Emergency Preparedness Toolbox
Committee Reports
Alliance for Water Effi ciency Helps Municipalities Develop Effective Water Conservation Programs
Don’t Flush … Your Drugs! Keep Our Source Waters Clean
Water Bytes
Water Testing in the Field – Guatemala
Demystifying Prefabricated Valve Chambers
Ask the Board
Certifi cation Corner
Welcome New Members
Calendar of Events
OWWEA Member Listing
Index of Advertisers | Ad.com

Ontario Pipeline - Fall 2013