Water Quality District - Hazardous Waste
What Makes it Hazardous?
Unused prescription and over-the-counter medications, can contaminate air or water, if burned or flushed down the drain. When disposed of where they are accessible to people or pets, these medications can be ingested, causing severe health consequences or death. Some of the substances, or combinations of substances, can damage septic systems or waste water treatment facilities, and harm fish and other wildlife when these substances enter water bodies. Current research is investigating the potential impacts to humans of trace amounts of combinations of pharmaceuticals in drinking water. There is also growing concern that antibiotics entering the environment in this way may contribute to the development of drug-resistant microorganisms.
Disposal through a take-back program helps to minimize the threat posed by unused medications.
- Buy only the amount of over-the-counter medication that you think you can use before the expiration date.
- Buy prescription medication only when you and your doctor feel it is appropriate and necessary.
- Missoula City Police Department offers a prescription medication drop-off at the back entrance of their downtown office.
- Landfill: Unused
medication can be disposed of with regular trash at Allied Waste or
other licensed landfill, following the instructions below.
- Dispose so that it is not visible/accessible and combine with substance that makes it unpalatable to children, pets, or unauthorized users (like coffee grounds etc.).
- Never burn unused medication, as toxic fumes can result.
- Never flush unused medication down the drain or toilet.
The Residential Disposal Guide is provided by the Missoula Valley Water Quality District as a public service and is not an endorsement of specific businesses, services or products. Any omissions or inaccuracies are unintentional. Please contact us with corrections or additions. Call businesses or agencies to confirm hours, locations and charges for services, if any. For information on disposal of items not listed, email or call the Water Quality District at 406-258-4890, M - F, 8 am to 5 pm.
Much of the information provided is from the Washington County, MN, Dept. of Public Health and Environment website.
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