Do you flush old medicine and personal-care products down the toilet? Do you dump them down the drain or throw them in the trash? People have been disposing of household chemicals in this way for decades.
Please stop, says the local water-quality supervisor in Lake Bluff.
"We must now break this habit," said Bill Soucie, water-quality supervisor at the Central Lake County Joint Action Water Agency, located on Rockland Road in Lake Bluff, in a presentation to State Sen. Susan Garrett and the Public Health Committee. You can read the full text of his presentation at the Illinois Section of the American Water Works Association's blog. No time for that? On the next page, GazeboNews summarizes Mr. Soucie's expert presentation:
"The presence of pharmaceuticals and personal-care products in water has been the subject of research over the past 38 years. During this time, waste water has been identified as a major contributor of these compounds to the environment. Waste water contains pharmaceuticals and personal care products because people excrete them after consumption, wash them off after use or dispose of them in the sink or down the toilet. It makes sense that avoiding pharmaceuticals disposal in this manner would reduce their presence in waste water."
So what do you do with unused medications or that expired but half-full bottle of sunscreen? Mr. Soucie doesn't offer an easy, at-home option for getting rid of the stuff. Here's what he supports:
- the prescription pill and drug disposal program in Pontiac
- local waste collection events
- the EPA-funded ARCHS: Rx meds program allowing drug drop-off at grocery stores
- pharmaceutical manufacturer programs like disposal pouches for medical patches
Lake County offers a couple of ways to dispose of household chemical waste, which will help keep toxins out of the water supply. Residents can make an appointment to drop off household chemical waste at the agency's facility at 1311 N. Estes in Gurnee–click over to get to SWALCO's website for specific dates . Or you can wait for the mobile collection truck to come to Lake Forest. The next mobile drop-off is Sept. 27 at the Lake Forest Municipal Services Center, 110 E. Laurel in, you guessed it, Lake Forest.