Proper medication disposal

♪♪ Nearly 70% of Americans
are on at least one prescription drug, and
more than half take two, according to a recent
study by the Mayo Clinic and Olmstead
Medical Center. Researchers say the most
commonly prescribed drugs are antibiotics,
antidepressants and painkilling opioids. With that many
pharmaceuticals filling medicine cabinets, it’s
important to keep them out of the water supply. Water-quality
professionals and researchers are looking at
the potential impacts of pharmaceuticals and
personal care products in our water supply. This group of compounds
includes human and veterinary drugs-both
prescription and over the counter-as well as
consumer products, like fragrances,
lotions, sunscreens and housecleaning products. Some of these compounds
have been detected at extremely low
levels in some water sources-sometimes in
single-digit parts per quadrillion. However, water experts
like those at Southern Nevada Water Authority are
committed to protecting public health. The Water Authority
takes water quality very seriously and tests our
community’s drinking water daily. In fact, the SNWA
conducted more than 287,600 water
analyses in 2016! Water quality experts
monitor for 91 naturally occurring and
man-made-regulated contaminants, as
required by the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency. But the Authority goes
above and beyond that by monitoring for more
than 75 unregulated contaminants in its
compliance laboratory. The Authority’s Research
& Development Team tackles the additional challenge
of monitoring for pharmaceutical and
personal-care products, which are also
unregulated. Well, pharmaceuticals
are synthetic and natural organic compounds that
are sometimes found in medicines, and the
Southern Nevada Water Authority has developed
some very sophisticated analytical techniques to
monitor for these in our water system. In fact, the Water
Authority collects thousands of samples each
year and conducts even more analyses to ensure
of your water’s quality. We use cutting-edge
technologies to ensure our water is treated and
tested to the highest standards. And because of all of
these things we do, we know our water meets
or exceeds all state and federal Safe Drinking
Water Act standards. ANNOUNCER:Pharmaceuticals
can be introduced into
water sources through
sewage and reclaimed
water, which is why the
SNWA and the Clark County
Water Reclamation District
ask residents not to flush
unused or expired medicine
or pour it down the drain.
The safest and easiest
way to dispose of any
medications is to take them
to a police substation.
You’ll find collection
boxes at several police
substations in
Clark County,
including Las Vegas Metro,
Boulder City, Henderson,
Mesquite and
North Las Vegas.
You should never flush any
medicine down the toilet. Instead, remove your
personal information from the labels, place
the bottles in a bag, and take them to your
closest police substation during regular
business hours. Each substation has a box
located in the lobby where you can just drop off
the medicine and leave. It’s that simple. CRYSTAL:Can’t
do a drop-off?
With a few easy steps,
you can safely dispose of
medication at home.First, remove prescription
labels with your personal
information, but do leave
any warning labels intact.
Next, dump pills into a
sealable bag and crush
them with a heavy object.Finally, add an absorbent
product like coffee
grounds or cat litter.If you have liquid
add them to the mix
and seal the bag.
Hide the final package
discreetly in your garbage
for pickup.The Reclamation District’s
Don’t Rush to Flush
Program is designed to
help prevent drug abuse
and protect the
The state’s largest
wastewater agency delivers
wastewater from
residential and business
customers to one of seven
water treatment facilities.
The Reclamation District
ensures wastewater meets
high treatment levels,
allowing the reclaimed
water to be discharged
into the Las Vegas Wash
and back into Lake Mead.JULIE:Our program
identifies products that
should never be dumped
into the sewer system,
like cooking
oil and grease.
Medicine Disposal is a
part of that program.
It is our goal to educate
the community on the
potential dangers of
dumping medicine back into
our water supply.Partnering with our local
police agencies has been a
win-win for our community.It allows us to
protect public health,
protect our environment, and
ensure reliable water supply.
professionals are closely
monitoring the occurrence
of pharmaceuticals and
personal care products in
drinking water supplies
and testing the
effectiveness of multiple
treatment techniques
for removal.
They are paying
close attention to
research in this area,
including research
conducted by the SNWA.
We’ve done a
lotta research in pharmaceuticals, actually. One of the first things
you have to do when you’re doing that kind of
research is you have to develop methodologies
in the lab to detect ’em because there aren’t
methodologies to do that. Once we develop
those methodologies, then we decide, OK,
is it a problem? And if it is a problem
for that particular contaminant, then how do
we tweak our treatment process to remove
that contaminant? And interesting enough, we
use ozone as our primary oxidant in our
treatment process, and ozone has been shown
by research to be one of the most effective
agents to remove these pharmaceuticals and
personal care products. CRYSTAL:Visit
to learn more about the
stringent, health-based
standards that protect
your drinking-water
how your water is
tested and treated,
and the results of
water quality analyses.
And, learn more about
proper medicine disposal
at paininthedrain.comThe Reclamation District has
a list of all the products
that should never enter
our water supply.
Reporting for Water Ways,
I’m Crystal Zuelke.


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