[Sqg-program] FW: Unwanted Meds in the Landfill Questions - food
Glen.Perrigan at dep.state.fl.us
Tue Nov 21 16:39:05 EST 2006
Farouk: Thanks for asking some important questions about this issue. Some
food for thought:
1. The idea is to prevent these medicines from getting into our
wastewater treatment plants, right?
I don't think at this point we can prevent medications from getting into our
wastewater treatment plants because unabsorbed medications and their
metabolites are excreted from humans no matter how we dispose with the unused
medications. However, we can reduce or delay the quantity that goes there by
reducing the amounts that are flushed in favor of disposal with the garbage.
2. So, let us send them to landfills with the garbage, right?
3. After landfilling them, they will come out with the leachate, right
Not necessarily. Recall that some of our garbage is bound for waste
to energy where the fate of organics (many pharms are organics) is quite
different than in a landfill. Landfill fate: As I understand it, we do not
monitor leachate for pharmaceuticals or their metabolites at this time. If
that is the case, we do not know what fraction of pharmaceuticals report to
leachate v. are transformed v. are sequestered in a landfill environment.
There is research going on right now at U of F on fate of ~10 pharmaceuticals
in simulated landfill environment (results about 10 months out).
4. The leachate goes to the wastewater treatment plants, right?
Yes it does. If we do determine that we need to remove pharmaceuticals from
wastewater to certain maximum concentrations, it would seem to me to be much
easier and more cost effective to pretreat ~100 leachate sources (landfills)
rather than every drop of wastewater from every toilet, urinal and sink drain
in the state. Perhaps selected pretreatment would even reduce wastewater
pharmaceutical loadings such that treatment of all wastewater would be
unnecessary or at least cheaper.
5. Finally, we are back to square one, right?
Not at all: we are taking a basic, reasoned and practical proactive step to
reduce or delay the environmental burden. That step is based upon incomplete
science that suggests that we have a problem but is not conclusive about
that. The answer to "What is the solution?" is even more inconclusive than
the answer to "What is the problem? How serious is that problem?" We need to
carefully consider whether expensive regulations, e.g., new and tougher
wastewater treatment standards and processes, are warranted given suggestive
but inconclusive knowledge about the problem we are trying to solve.
As always, I welcome your thoughts and am open to discussing at any time.
Please copy David and Victor as I do not have their email addresses. Thanks
again for your feedback.
John L. (Jack) Price
Hazardous Waste Management MS 4555
Florida Department of Environmental Protection
2600 Blair Stone Road
Tallahassee, FL 32399-2400
john.l.price at dep.state.fl.us
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From: Farouk M. El-Shamy [mailto:felshamy at pascocountyfl.net]
Sent: Friday, November 17, 2006 10:16 AM
To: Perrigan, Glen
Cc: David James; Victor Norka
Glen: I received a copy of your flyer on proper disposal of unneeded
medicine. I just have a thought to share with you.
6. The idea is to prevent these medicines from getting into our
wastewater treatment plants, right?
7. So, let us send them to landfills with the garbage, right?
8. After landfilling them, they will come out with the leachate, right
9. The leachate goes to the wastewater treatment plants, right?
10. Finally, we are back to square one, right?
How about that for a Friday morning?
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