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September 16, 2009 > Union Sanitary District recognized for Pharmaceutical Disposal Program

Union Sanitary District recognized for Pharmaceutical Disposal Program

Submitted By Michael Dunning

Union Sanitary District (USD) was recently recognized by the City of Union City for its partnership with Tri-City medical facilities and pharmacies to provide a program that allows residents to safely and responsibly dispose off expired or unwanted medications at their convenience. The City's Proclamation acknowledged "No Drugs Down the Drain Week" September 21 - 27, a regional effort in nine Bay Area Counties with more than 30 collection sites and special events for proper disposal of pharmaceuticals.

"Protecting the Bay from pollutants is an important element of USD's stewardship of the environment," said Michael Dunning, USD's Environmental Programs Manager. "Medications should not be disposed off down your drains. Wastewater Treatment plants are designed to treat biological waste and cannot remove all toxic substances from wastewater. Pharmaceuticals flushed into the sewer system can pass into San Francisco Bay, and may have an impact on fish and wildlife."

USD works in collaboration with Washington Hospital Healthcare System and Haller's Pharmacies to offer permanent drop-off bins within their locations. "USD is privileged to work with our local partners to provide this free service to the Tri-City area," said Dunning. "Thanks to these partnerships, our customers don't have to wait for special disposal events. Every week is No Drugs Down the Drain Week in the Tri-Cities." In the past six months, USD has collected over 800 pounds of unwanted medicines from the permanent locations. The district pays for a licensed medical waste hauler to take the discarded pharmaceuticals to a site for incineration.

"We're very happy that the City of Union City values this important pollution prevention program, and is committed to keeping its citizens informed of opportunities to protect the environment," said Dunning. "Union City is a valued colleague in USD's mission to protect our communities and San Francisco Bay."

The permanent drop-off locations for Fremont, Newark and Union City are:

Washington Hospital
Main Lobby
2000 Mowry Avenue, Fremont

Washington Hospital Community Health Resource Library
2500 Mowry Avenue, Fremont

Washington Township Medical Group at Nakamura Clinic
33077 Alvarado-Niles Road, Union City

Washington Township Medical Group
35500 Dumbarton Court, Newark

Washington Township Medical Group at Warm Springs
46690 Mohave Drive, Fremont

Haller's Pharmacy and Medical Supply
37323 Fremont Boulevard, Fremont
Newark Haller's Pharmacy
6170 Thornton Avenue, Newark

Cough medicines, creams and other liquids can be disposed of in their original containers. Pills should be removed from medicine bottles before disposal and personal information marked out before placing empty containers in home recycle bins. 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, visit www.unionsanitary.ca.gov and click on what's new.

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