Prescription Drug Disposal

Drug Disposal Brochure (.pdf)

Help Keep Prescription Medications out of Public Water Supplies

In an effort to keep prescription drugs from entering our streams and ultimately the public water supply, the Clermont County Water Resources Department is working to educate its customers about proper ways to dispose of unused medications.

The Potential for Prescription Drugs in Rivers and Water Supplies

Pharmaceuticals have not been detected in Clermont County streams or drinking water; however, recent studies have shown that they are beginning to show up in low levels in streams and treated drinking water across the country.  U.S. EPA studies have identified over 100 individual pharmaceuticals and personal care products in environmental samples and drinking water. Additionally, a study conducted by the Associated Press in 2007-2008 detected drugs in the drinking supplies of 24 major metropolitan areas.

While these levels were not found to be at levels that pose a human health risk, some studies have shown impacts on fish and other aquatic life.  And as the use of prescription medications continues to rise, there is a concern that levels in treated drinking water will also rise.

How Prescription Drugs Can Enter Rivers and Public Water Supplies

One way in which prescription drugs enter rivers and streams, and potentially public water supplies, is through the improper disposal of unused medications.  When these are dumped down the drain, they are transported to local sewage treatment plants which are generally not engineered to remove drug residues.  As a result, the drugs may pass through the treatment system and into streams and rivers that serve as a source of public drinking water.  Likewise, water treatment plants are not designed to remove these types of contaminants, so the possibility exists for the drugs to be present in our drinking water.

How to Dispose of Unused Prescription Drugs and Personal Care Products

1.       Unless otherwise directed, it is best not to flush unused medications or pour them down the sink or drain, but rather, throw them in the trash.

2.       To protect children and pets, place the unwanted medication in a sealable bag and place it in the household trash.  Adding kitty litter, coffee grounds or sawdust makes it less appealing to both children and pets to eat.

3.       Before throwing it away, be sure to remove all identifying personal information from the containers.

4.       Consult your pharmacist with any questions.

For more information on the proper disposal of prescription drugs, visit www.smarxtdisposal.net, or call the Water Resources Department’s Storm Water Division at (513) 732-7880.