Don’t Flush ‘em, Turn ‘em In!

Protect Our Water Supply, Join National Take-Back Day on April 26

| News Release



Laurel – April 24, 2014: Too many people pour expired or unused prescription drugs down the drain or flush them down the toilet, unaware of potential risks they pose to our nation’s drinking water. On April 26 from 10am to 2pm, turn in prescription and over-the-counter drugs at local collection sites as part of the Drug Enforcement Agency’s (DEA) Eighth Annual National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.

WSSC is again supporting the DEA initiative to promote safe disposal of drugs and convey the impact of drugs on our nation’s water supply. The presence of such drugs in WSSC’s drinking water sources are not currently a concern, but beyond a doubt, the safe disposal of drugs has nationwide benefit, and is crucial to preserving the quality of our local water source.

“If we all remember to do small things that protect our water supply, we will make a large collective difference,” says Joseph Johnson, WSSC Potomac Plant Superintendent.

In cities and towns which have sewer systems that connect to a wastewater treatment plant, prescription and over-the-counter drugs poured down the sink or flushed can eventually pass into rivers and lakes. For septic tanks, prescription and over-the-counter drugs flushed down the toilet can leach into the ground and seep into groundwater. The potential environmental and health consequences of prescription and over-the-counter drugs in drinking water sources are continuously being studied by state and federal environmental and health regulatory agencies.

The Take-Back Initiative is an opportunity to safely dispose of prescription and over-the-counter drugs, protecting families from potential misuse and abuse, and protecting the sources of our drinking water. In the seven previous Take-Back events, the DEA and its state, local, and tribal law-enforcement and community partners have removed over 3.4 million pounds (1,733 tons) of medication from circulation.

If you are unable to turn in your old or unused drugs this Saturday, use these steps for easy responsible disposal (also applicable for liquid medications). 

  1. Take unused, un-needed or expired prescription drugs out of their original prescription bottles; 
  2. Crush medication and put in a container such as an empty can or sealable bag;
  3. Mix with coffee grounds, dirt or kitty litter;
  4. Discard with regular trash.

WSSC subject matter experts are available for interview regarding the impact of drugs on our water supply and how to protect it.

WSSC Water is the proud provider of safe, seamless and satisfying water services, making the essential possible every day for our neighbors in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties. We work to deliver our best because it’s what our customers expect and deserve.

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