Improper Disposal of Prescription Drugs Causes Pollution

6 years 6 months 5 days ago Wednesday, May 08 2013 May 8, 2013 Wednesday, May 08, 2013 10:05:00 AM CDT May 08, 2013 in News
By: Taylor Barth

COLUMBIA - Flushing prescription drugs down the toilet may seem harmless, but that's simply not the case. Chemicals from pills make their way through the water system unfiltered and eventually end up in local creeks, rivers and lakes. 

Mike Heimos, stormwater educator for the City of Columbia Public Works Department, said the water treatment plants are not designed to filter chemicals from prescription drugs. 

"The waste water treatment plants are set up to treat human pollutants, and you're talking about putting those extra chemicals that don't get treated into that water," said Heimos.

According to the 2012 Water Quality Report by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, "Individual onsite wastewater disposal practices pose threats to surface water and groundwater quality."

The Youth Community Coalition and the Boone County Sheriff's Department hope to stop pollution and educate the community about the effects of flushing old and unused drugs. Prescription Drug Take Back events are held periodically throughout the year to allow locals to properly dispose of medications.

Stephen Gaither is the public affairs officer at the Harry S. Truman Memorial Veteran's Hospital. The hospital serves as a drug drop-off site during Prescription Drug Take Back events. He said turning in old prescription drugs is an important role as a member of the community.

"The most common improper disposal [of prescription drugs] is to put them in the trash or down into the sewer system, so it pollutes our water," said Gaither. "If it gets into the trash it goes into our landfill and it has the potential to have an averse effect on our environment." 

But the pollution can also affect humans. The last United States Geological Survey from 2002 found that 80% of U.S. streams contain small amounts of human medicine. 

"If you have something at your house that you need to get rid of, the first question you need to ask yourself is 'At some point in the future do I want to swim in this, drink it, or eat it?'" said Heimos. 

Deputy sheriff of the Boone County Sheriff's Department, Tony Perkins, said he thinks the community has become more aware of this issue. 

"I think the community really wants this," Perkins said. "They really want to save our water system, and they really want to save our environment."

The collection number at the latest Prescription Drug Take Back event demonstrates the community's efforts to improve. The Boone County Sheriff's Department reported that it collected over 648 pounds of prescription drugs, which is 139 more pounds than previous collected amounts.

You can find ways to properly dispose of prescription drugs at the Youth Community Coalition and the City of Columbia's websites. 

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - Russell Boulevard Elementary School will host a ceremony Wednesday honoring the life of a Columbia mayor who died... More >>
2 hours ago Wednesday, November 13 2019 Nov 13, 2019 Wednesday, November 13, 2019 3:24:00 AM CST November 13, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - One group is fighting to have citizens vote directly on whether or not they want more Missourians... More >>
7 hours ago Tuesday, November 12 2019 Nov 12, 2019 Tuesday, November 12, 2019 10:27:00 PM CST November 12, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Jefferson City Fire Department said a resident alerted firefighters to two people were stuck in a car... More >>
8 hours ago Tuesday, November 12 2019 Nov 12, 2019 Tuesday, November 12, 2019 8:59:00 PM CST November 12, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Dan White hasn't always been proud to recognize himself as a Vietnam veteran. "Things weren't very good... More >>
8 hours ago Tuesday, November 12 2019 Nov 12, 2019 Tuesday, November 12, 2019 8:58:00 PM CST November 12, 2019 in EmVP
BOONE COUNTY - Crews restored power to nearly 800 Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives customers Tuesday night. The power... More >>
10 hours ago Tuesday, November 12 2019 Nov 12, 2019 Tuesday, November 12, 2019 7:19:00 PM CST November 12, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - City manager John Glascock named De'Carlon Seewood as Columbia's new deputy city manager Tuesday. Seewood will... More >>
11 hours ago Tuesday, November 12 2019 Nov 12, 2019 Tuesday, November 12, 2019 5:45:00 PM CST November 12, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - One passenger was injured when a Columbia city bus slid on a patch of ice Tuesday morning. ... More >>
12 hours ago Tuesday, November 12 2019 Nov 12, 2019 Tuesday, November 12, 2019 4:37:00 PM CST November 12, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Winter started with an early preview in October , but it went full throttle at the start of... More >>
13 hours ago Tuesday, November 12 2019 Nov 12, 2019 Tuesday, November 12, 2019 4:20:00 PM CST November 12, 2019 in Climate
COLUMBIA - A combination of low temperatures and steady snowfall left roads slick and icy this morning around Columbia. ... More >>
14 hours ago Tuesday, November 12 2019 Nov 12, 2019 Tuesday, November 12, 2019 3:13:00 PM CST November 12, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA ­– KOMU 8, Mid-Missouri’s CW and Mediacom agree to a new, multiyear agreement well before expiration of their current... More >>
14 hours ago Tuesday, November 12 2019 Nov 12, 2019 Tuesday, November 12, 2019 3:10:00 PM CST November 12, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA — People around Missouri were able to see a fireball in the sky around 9 on Monday night. ... More >>
15 hours ago Tuesday, November 12 2019 Nov 12, 2019 Tuesday, November 12, 2019 1:53:00 PM CST November 12, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Jefferson City Police Department is now streamlining information sharing for emergency situations through "Smart 911." ... More >>
16 hours ago Tuesday, November 12 2019 Nov 12, 2019 Tuesday, November 12, 2019 1:19:00 PM CST November 12, 2019 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — The St. Louis Cardinals and Adam Wainwright have agreed to a contract for the 2020 season,... More >>
17 hours ago Tuesday, November 12 2019 Nov 12, 2019 Tuesday, November 12, 2019 12:29:24 PM CST November 12, 2019 in Sports
COLUMBIA - Judge Tracy Gonzalez issued an order Tuesday denying bond reduction for a man suspected in the disappearance of... More >>
18 hours ago Tuesday, November 12 2019 Nov 12, 2019 Tuesday, November 12, 2019 10:36:08 AM CST November 12, 2019 in News
ATLANTA (AP) — Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter was admitted to a hospital on Monday evening for a surgery... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, November 12 2019 Nov 12, 2019 Tuesday, November 12, 2019 5:30:00 AM CST November 12, 2019 in News
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Drew Lock will get the chance to salvage his rookie season in Denver and show Broncos... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, November 12 2019 Nov 12, 2019 Tuesday, November 12, 2019 5:07:57 AM CST November 12, 2019 in Sports
COLUMBIA - Veterans from three major wars flew to Washington D.C. early Tuesday morning for the final Central Missouri Honor... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, November 12 2019 Nov 12, 2019 Tuesday, November 12, 2019 3:53:00 AM CST November 12, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY — An out-of-control kitchen fire in Jefferson City damaged an apartment Monday evening. The Jefferson City Fire... More >>
1 day ago Monday, November 11 2019 Nov 11, 2019 Monday, November 11, 2019 10:48:00 PM CST November 11, 2019 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 16°
6am 19°
7am 19°
8am 22°
9am 27°