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City Wants You to Trash, not Flush, Old Pills

San Clemente officials discuss the different methods of disposing pharmaceutical waste, seeking to inform citizens that the sanitary sewer is not the place to do it.

Because of the potential health risk of dumping unused or expired medication into sewers through toilets, city officials decided Tuesday that better educating the public was necessary.

Assistant City Engineer Tom Bonigut explained to city officials that residents had the option to dispose their household pharmaceutical waste in the trash which would then end up in a landfill, take their prescriptions back to pharmacies at collection events or to take their meds to a dropbox in the city, though one hasn't been set up in San Clemente.

City officials discussed the consequences of each and agreed that enhanced public outreach would help reduce the chances of drugs being flushed straight out into the ocean.

Bonigut said that the Coastal Advisory Committee was already creating an informational slide for display on Cox Channel 30 and were planning to run an ad in the San Clemente Times.

Citizens should know that it is unsafe to throw away pills in the trash without crushing them first and covering them so that animals will not mistake them as food or people won't use them recreationally, said Councilwoman Lori Donchak.

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