City of Saginaw MI -

Your drinking water is regulated by numerous Federal and State laws. These laws are intended to protect the consumer and provide clean, safe drinking water and also to investigate the potential health risk of unregulated contaminants. More information can be found at EPA safewater page

Some current regulations protect the consumer from Coliform bacteria contamination Safe Drinking Water Act(SDWA), limit and investigate Disinfection By-Products Stage 1 and Stage 2 Disinfection By-Products Rules(S2DBPR), explore the prevalence and ensure removal and inactivation of the parasite Cryptosporidium Long Term 2 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule(LT2ESWTR), and investigate the potential for health effects by new Contaminants of Concern Unregulated Contaminants Monitoring Rule(UCMR).

Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products

Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products (P/PCP) are being found in drinking water and wastewater. These chemicals may be placed on the EPA's Contaminants of Concern List (CCL) With our ever more sensitive testing methods and equipment, laboratories can now detect the presence of chemicals that were never before detectable. Several laboratories are now exploring which chemicals are found, what the health effects may be and whether regulatory limits should be put in place.

Disposing of medication

How you dispose of your medications can have a significant impact on the environment. In the past, many people have flushed prescription, over-the-counter and veterinary medications down their toilet. Someone probably told you this was a good way to keep the medication away from children and pets. This is not the best method of disposal for these products, however. Placing outdated or unneeded medications in the garbage is the best way to get rid of them.

When throwing away medications, follow these steps:

  • Keep prescriptions in their original container since caps are often childproof and bottles may contain important safety information that could be used if a child or pet accidentally ingested the medication.
  • Alter the medication to discourage others from taking it. Add water to bottles of pills and tape the lid shut. Mix liquid medicines with some salt or flour before taping the top down. Wrap foil sheets of medication in a few layers of duct tape.
  • Hide the medication before placing in your garbage bag. Don't toss the container directly into the garbage; first, put it inside another container like an empty margarine tub, yogurt cup, etc.

Why flushing is a bad idea

When you flush medication down your drain, it ends up at your Wastewater Treatment Plant, or in the groundwater by way of septic tanks. While wastewater treatment plants ar designed to remove many contaminants from untreated water, they may not filter out the ingredients found in many medications. These ingredients can remain in the treated water when it is released, and harm creatures living in the river, including fish and frogs.

For more information

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency offers information on the ways medications and personal care products may affect the environment.
The U.S. Geological Survey offers research on medications and household products in the environment.


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