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January 7, 2011 > Union Sanitary District Shows Appreciation for Safe Medicine Disposal

Union Sanitary District Shows Appreciation for Safe Medicine Disposal

Submitted By Michelle Powell

Union Sanitary District (USD) presented resolutions to Haller's Pharmacy and Washington Hospital Healthcare System in appreciation of their partnerships with the District to provide permanent safe medicine disposal drop-off locations for Tri-City residents. "USD's collaboration with these two partners has proven very successful in offering a safe, convenient way for our communities to dispose of unwanted medications and protect the environment," says Michael Auer, the District's Environmental Outreach Coordinator.

USD's Board members presented a resolution at a Washington Hospital Healthcare board meeting, and Haller's owner Gary Basrai received his resolution along with Senior Pharmacy Technician Denise Lash at a recent USD Board meeting.

"Haller's Pharmacies and Washington Hospital Healthcare System are long-standing, respected members of the community," Auer says. "Their partnership with USD to provide secure, permanent drop-off locations is an asset to the Tri-Cities, and an important component in the District's mission to protect public health and San Francisco Bay."

In 2009, the District collected 2,000 pounds of expired and unwanted medications from locked drop boxes located in Washington Hospital's lobby, its resource library and its clinics in the Tri-Cities, and at Haller's Pharmacies in Fremont and Newark. The service is free, and USD pays for a licensed medical waste hauler to take the discarded pharmaceuticals to a site for incineration.

"Our customers are realizing that flushing medicines down drains is no longer acceptable," says Auer. "Wastewater treatment plants like Union Sanitary District's are designed to handle normal household wastes. They are not equipped to treat pharmaceuticals, so some of the medications flushed into the sewer system can pass through, and into San Francisco Bay," he explains. "People want to know how they can dispose of medicines in ways that are more environmentally responsible."

Union Sanitary District operates a 30 million gallon per day wastewater treatment facility in Union City and provides collection, treatment and disposal services to the Tri-City area. For more information about the environmental impact of flushing medications or for facts about recycling, visitwww.nodrugsdownthedrain.org,www.earth911.org, orwww.unionsanitary.ca.gov

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