Unused medications and pharmaceuticals like over-the-counter pills, ointments, sprays, drops and supplements, belong in a safe collection facility, not in our waterways and water treatment system. The following drugs have been detected in Texas water sources:
- Birth control pills
- Cancer treatments
- Cholesterol-lowering drugs
- Seizure medication
Research demonstrates that exposure to low levels of human medications for a period of time has altered physical characteristics and behavior of fish and other water-dwelling animals. The Texas Section of the American Water Works Association has launched a website about this issue. Additionally, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality will be studying this situation and devising a plan to reduce contaminants.There are many sources of medications in our water systems, including manufacturing and medical facilities, but households also contribute, and conventional wastewater treatment facilities cannot remove these substances completely.
Properly Dispose of Pharmaceuticals
Here in Benbrook, we will update information about this issued as studies in Texas progress. Meanwhile, please help by disposing property of all unused medications.To properly dispose of pharmaceuticals:
- Check with your pharmacy. Many pharmacies will dispose of unused medications for you.
- Drop drugs off at an authorized collection facility. Benbrook has an agreement with the City of Fort Worth that allows Benbrook residents to take hazardous materials, including pharmaceuticals, to the Fort Worth Environmental Collection Center (ECC) at 6400 Bridge Street in Fort Worth. The phone number for the ECC is 817-392-3279.
- Prepare drugs for disposal yourself. It takes a little time, but you can disburse and conceal unused medications in other substances and place them in your regular solid waste collection. For detailed instruction on this process, visit the Don't Flush Drugs website and follow all applicable steps.
Fats, Oils, & Grease
Sewer backups and overflows are frequently caused by fats, oils, and grease being placed into the sewer system by customers. Because these items are lighter than water, they accumulate in the sewer pipes, similar to how cholesterol builds up in the body’s blood stream and arteries until a blockage occurs. The backup could result in damage to your property or it could overflow into the storm drain causing environmental damage to our rivers and streams.
Tips for Preventing Sewer Backup
- Don’t pour fats, oils, and grease in the storm drain of your street because they pollute the environment.
- Don’t pour fats, oils, and grease from cooking down the toilet or into any drain in your home.
- Don’t pour melted oils used for cooking down the sink or garbage disposal. Let them solidify in a container on the counter or in the refrigerator. Then place them into the garbage.
- Don’t put greasy food scraps down the kitchen sink or garbage disposal. Instead, always use a paper towel or rubber spatula to thoroughly scrape and swipe food from plates and pans into the garbage can before washing.
- Don’t use the sewer as a means to dispose of food scraps.
Many things you put in your garbage disposal will eventually block your sewer. Garbage disposals use large volumes of water. Reducing or eliminating use of your garbage disposal will lower your water and wastewater bill, resulting in savings.