drinking water

Keeping pharmaceuticals out of our drinking water supplies


The presence of pharmaceuticals in our drinking water

I have given talks and written blog posts on the existence of small amounts of pharmaceuticals in our water due to today’s water purification systems not being designed to filter these contaminants. I wanted to provide some additional guidance on how to keep these and other unused prescription medicines out of our water sources.

What to do if buy-back options are not available

The best option is to dispose of unused prescriptions by using drug buy-back programs. If a program is not available in your area, most medications can be disposed of in the trash as a last resort. Prior to discarding the pharmaceuticals in the trash, remove the pills or tablets from the original container and mix them with used coffee grounds, kitty litter or dirt to make them less desirable or unrecognizable to children, pets, and narcotic-seekers. Then place the mixture in a sealable bag, empty can or other container to prevent the medication from leaking out of the garbage bag. Finally, make sure to scratch out any personal information on the bottle to protect your identity and personal health information.

Until our wastewater facilities are upgraded

Until systems designed to purify our water are upgraded to remove contaminants such as unwanted prescriptions, endocrine disruptors, and pesticides, you and I will need to take charge of keeping our own water supplies safe.



One Response to “Keeping pharmaceuticals out of our drinking water supplies”
  1. Annette Frei says:

    My husband and I were just talking about this. Do we have a program for prescription buy-back in Livermore? I don’t like to keep these in the house with teens around.