Legislation sponsored by New Jersey State Senators Christopher "Kip" Bateman (R-Somerset) and Andrew Ciesla (R-Ocean) that would prohibit health care institutions from discharging medications into sewer or septic systems was passed by the Senate Environment and Energy Committee today.
"The improper disposal of medications may cause pollution in wastewater, harming fish and other aquatic life and contaminating our drinking supply," Bateman stated. "Precautionary measures must be put in place to limit unintentional exposure to these very powerful drugs."
The law would apply to any business, including hospitals, nursing homes, residential health care facilities, home health care agencies and hospice programs that operate in New Jersey. A health care institution found in violation would be subject to the penalty provisions of the “Water Pollution Control Act.”
Ciesla went on to mention an Associated Press investigative story that discovered medications have been detected in the drinking water supplies of 24 major metropolitan areas, including New Jersey.
"When you drink a glass of water, give your child a bath or wash your clothes you trust that the water is safe and clean," Ciesla concluded. "This legislation will help maintain that high level of confidence so you do not have to think twice when you turn on your faucet or garden hose."