http://paloaltoonline.com/square/print/2008/03/25/drop-off-medicines-at-free-palo-alto-disposal-site


Town Square

Drop off medicines at free Palo Alto disposal site

Original post made by Phil Bobel on Mar 25, 2008

CITY WARNS: DON'T DISPOSE OF MEDICINES IN SINKS OR TOILETS!
DROP THEM OFF AT SAFE DISPOSAL SITE IN PALO ALTO

New Report of Pharmaceuticals in Nation's Water Supply Underscores Risk

Palo Alto, CA - March 13, 2008 - "We are issuing an urgent reminder to all local residents to dispose of their unneeded pharmaceuticals at our free drop-off site, and not down the sink or toilet," said Phil Bobel, Manager, Environmental Compliance Division, for the Palo Alto Regional Water Quality Control Plant (RWQCP). His statement followed Monday's Associated Press story about pharmaceuticals being present in drinking water following a study conducted by the American Waterworks Association Research Foundation in which 20 of the nation's water systems were tested.

The plant's drop-off site, located at 2501 Embarcadero Way in Palo Alto, is open to RWQCP service area residents Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Palo Alto residents also can drop off household hazardous wastes at a collection event held on the first Saturday of every month at the plant. For more information, see www.cleanbay.org, call (650) 329-2598 or e-mail cleanbay@cityofpaloalto.org

Although San Francisco's water supply (which serves Palo Alto) tested negative for pharmaceuticals, Bobel says the recent test results illustrate how pharmaceuticals can enter water supplies and recreational areas like San Francisco Bay.

"Medicines disposed down drains or toilets can pass through wastewater treatment facilities which aren't designed to remove all pharmaceuticals. When they enter the Bay, they can harm fish and other marine life," Bobel said.

Nationwide studies show that fish may undergo sex alteration, altered behavior, poor hatching and other dysfunctions due to compounds in old medicines tossed into sewer systems. These impacts can be minimized when residents dispose of medicines properly.

"We've safely disposed of more than 1,000 pounds of pharmaceuticals since 2006," said Bobel. "I'm proud of local residents who took the time to help us prevent these medicines from polluting San Francisco Bay."

The RWQCP treats wastewater from the East Palo Alto Sanitary District, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Mountain View, Palo Alto, and Stanford. Residents are eligible to use the plant for free disposal of pharmaceuticals and other household hazardous wastes. The RWQCP offers extensive information and programs to prevent pollution. For information, see www.cleanbay.org, call (650) 329-2598 or e-mail cleanbay@cityofpaloalto.org

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Contact: Phil Bobel
Manager, Environmental Compliance Division
650-329-2285



Comments

Posted by RS, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 25, 2008 at 5:30 pm

Palo alto medical clinic has a drop box for drugs near the pharmacy.


Posted by Faith Brigel, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 25, 2008 at 7:18 pm

I read an article in the paper just a couple of weeks ago about this problem of unused pharmeceutical products being flushed down sinks and toilets. It sounds serious both for adults and even more so for children. I am impressed that the City of Palo Alto has acted so quickly to remedy this situation by organizing and providing drop off points for its residents. It seems that it has made available disposing of these products properly since 2006.
I offer my applause. I will use it when I have some, and I hope that all of our residents will take the time, and make the effort to help keep our drinking water safe!
Thanks again!


Posted by Faith Brigel, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 25, 2008 at 7:18 pm

I read an article in the paper just a couple of weeks ago about this problem of unused pharmeceutical products being flushed down sinks and toilets. It sounds serious both for adults and even more so for children. I am impressed that the City of Palo Alto has acted so quickly to remedy this situation by organizing and providing drop off points for its residents. It seems that it has made available disposing of these products properly since 2006.
I offer my applause. I will use it when I have some, and I hope that all of our residents will take the time, and make the effort to help keep our drinking water safe!
Thanks again!


Posted by EHM, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 7, 2008 at 10:55 am

Isn't there a program where medicines that aren't past expiration date can be donated? We just got a a medication refilled in error and would be happy to drop it off so that someone who needs it could use it.


Posted by Samson, a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 20, 2014 at 1:14 pm

I'm curious. What happens to the medications when they are returned to a safe location? Are they melted down, or ground up to make other medications? I have the same inquiries about batteries. When ever I am asked to "safely" dispose of something I wonder how it will be treated differently than regular waste.

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