You don't have to wait until spring cleaning to get rid of harmful chemicals and other hazardous materials around the house and garage. Ald. Puente wants to remind residents that the city and Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District have teamed up to open another convenient permanent facility for Milwaukee County residents.

The new permanent drop off site is at the City of Milwaukee Self Help Station, 3879
W. Lincoln Ave. It is open Fridays and Saturdays 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Residents might find it more convenient to take advantage of the permanent collection facility on the northwest side at W124 N9451 Boundary Rd, Menomonee Falls that is free for Milwaukee residents. It is open Monday and Wednesday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

And don't flush your prescriptions - What do you do with all the unused or expired medicines that pile up in your home? For decades we were told to flush them. However, you should never flush or pour unused medicine down the drain. From aspirin to controlled substances, medicine is showing up in our waterways and there's growing concern about all the impacts the various drugs are having on the environment. "Wastewater treatment plants are not designed to remove medicine from wastewater, and pouring drugs down the drain can send harmful chemicals on a direct path to Lake Michigan," said Ald. Puente. 

MMSD is planning another special Medicine Collection Day for late spring or early summer. Check their web site at www.mmsd.com for updates. During the first Medicine Collection Day last September the district collected 14 thirty-gallon drums of non-controlled substances and over 10,000 individual pills of controlled substances.

What if I can't make it to the collection site? - Putting unused or expired medications in the garbage isn't ideal either. Kids, pets and animals can still get into them or they could be stolen. Also, landfills can leak into the groundwater. If you're going to put medicine in the garbage, seal the original child-proof container with tape, or crush the pills and put them into a container with old coffee grounds or something that kids would never eat.