Dispose of Medications Safely for Cleaner Water and Sewer Systems

Sacramento, did you know the city has kiosks set up for you to dispose of your unwanted medications?  In an ongoing effort to keep rivers, streams and sewer systems free from hazardous materials, Sacramento has recently initiated a program to assist residents of the city in their proper disposal of medications. There are several pharmaceutical kiosk locations set up conveniently throughout the city to retrieve medications that could potentially harm the waterways. Additionally, recent studies have shown that pharmaceuticals in rivers and streams, if present at high enough concentrations, can harm aquatic wildlife. Also, when flushed down the drain, some medications are not completely removed by wastewater treatment plants.  Pharmaceutical take-back kiosks have been placed throughout the county to provide free, safe and convenient disposal of all over-the-counter and prescription medications, including controlled and non-controlled substances. This insightful agenda is expected to ensure a healthier environment by addressing countywide waste reduction strategies in order to serve the community at large. An estimate of up to 33 percent of medications will not be used by the patient. This agenda is a dual effort, not only help reduce the improper disposal of medications but to also address the mishandling and/or misuse of prescribed substances. Items that will be taken at the kiosks include pill and liquid medications, medicated ointments and lotions, and pet meds. Sharps (needles and syringes) will not be accepted.

Interesting fact: The city has embarked on a one-of-a-kind, solution-oriented project, which will be a multi-year initiative. The EchoWater Project is one of the largest public works projects in Sacramento’s history. This project was initiated due to a directive to keep the city in observance of its regulatory permits and improve water quality. When completed, a 95 percent reduction in ammonia discharged to the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta will be in effect. The EchoWater project will satisfy the need to protect the region’s waterways for an indeterminate time.


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