City Programs Receive Governor's Environmental Stewardship Awards

Communications Director

Kristin Farley
(865) 215-2589

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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City Programs Receive Governor's Environmental Stewardship Awards

Posted: 08/26/2010
The City of Knoxville and its partners in the Knox-Area Medication Collection Program hosted one of its biggest Unwanted Medicines Collections and Used Mercury Thermometer Exchanges last Saturday at Mercy Medical Center North.

"We collected over 400 pounds of medications and exchanged 271 thermometers," said John Homa, the city's Solid Waste Project Manager, "Which is an exceptional result. We had 285 participants so it was a really good event."

The collection and exchange took place between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., August 21, at the medical center just off Emory Road.

Homa said that typically the exchanges - there are about four a year - take in roughly 200 pounds of unused or expired medications.

"I think some of it (the increase) was because the Hallsdale-Powell Utility District included an insert about the collection with some of their customer bills," he said.

Hallsdale-Powell is one of the sponsors of the events, which offer residents an opportunity to turn in unwanted and/or outdated and expired prescription medications, over the counter medications and used mercury thermometers for proper disposal.

A free digital thermometer is given in exchange for the mercury thermometers.

The goal of the unwanted medicines collection is to prevent pharmaceutical and over the counter products from getting into the water supply - or into the hands of children - and to make sure they are disposed of in a safe, environmentally friendly manner.

It is part of nationwide effort to reduce the amount of drugs and over the counter products including fragrances, sunscreen products and nutritional supplements that are entering water systems.

In addition to the City of Knoxville's Public Service Division and the Hallsdale-Powell Utility District other sponsors include the Knox County Solid Waste Office, Knoxville Police Department, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, UT Academy of Student Pharmacists, KUB and the Knox County Health Department.

Recently the Knox-Area Medication Collection Program received a Governor's Environmental Stewardship Award from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. The City of Knoxville's Stormwater Engineering Division was also part of another joint effort that received a Governor's Environmental Stewardship Award, the Water Quality Forum's Rainy Day Brush-Off.

The Rainy Day Brush-Off featured the work of local artists who transformed 55-gallon rain barrels into works of art to raise awareness about water conservation and pollution. Artists created more than 50 of the painted barrels and their sale has raised thousands of dollars to support the Water Quality Forum's efforts.

The program received the Governor's Award in the Environmental Education and Outreach category.

For more information about any of these programs please contact John Homa, City of Knoxville Solid Waste Project Manager, at 215-2872.