Dispose of Medicines at Local Pharmacies

Medicines are chemicals that can be toxic to humans and fish and other aquatic organisms.

Flushing medicines down the toilet can contaminate your drinking water and Torch Lake.

Your septic system cannot break down the chemicals.

Toxic chemicals travel with wastewater to your septic drainfield.

Then it sinks down through our sandy soil to the groundwater.

Groundwater feeds your private well and Torch Lake through cold springs.

Throwing unwanted and expired medicines in the garbage is NOT safe.

There is a potential for:

  • Accidental poisoning by children and pets
  • Prescription drug abuse by teens and adults
  • Polluting drinking water by drug chemicals leaching from landfills.

What are the benefits to you and our water?

  • Keeps drinking water safe from toxins
  • Keeps toxins out of Torch Lake, so they won’t harm fish and aquatic creatures
  • Does not harm your septic system

What can you do?

Step 1. Return acceptable medicines to local pharmacies.

Acceptable Medicines

  • Prescription drugs (including controlled substances)
  • Over the counter medicines
  • Nutritional supplements and vitamins
  • Liquid medications in sealed containers or plastic bags
  • Medicated lotions and ointments

Local Pharmacies

  • Bellaire – Bellaire Pharmacy
  • Kalkaska – Kalkaska Hospital Pharmacy

Or Law Enforcement Offices

Return to Pills in a Purple Pod boxes located at law enforcement offices in Bellaire and Elk Rapids. Offices are open on Monday– Friday from 9:00–5:00.

Antrim County Sheriff– Administrative Office
107 Grove Street
Bellaire, MI 40615
(231) 533–8627

Elk Rapids Police Department
321 Bridge Street
Elk Rapids, MI 49629
(231) 264–6592

Step 2. Return unused pet medicines to your vet or local pharmacy.


Step 3. Dispose of medical waste at proper locations.

Medical WasteProper Location
Aerosol cans, hydrogen peroxide,
Take to Antrim County Hazardous Waste Collection Days
Medical waste, bloody waste, IV bagsPlace in plastic bags and dispose in trash.
SHARPS (needles, lancets, pen needles, etc.)Mail container back to B.D. Sharps, Inc.

Don't just wish that Torch Lake will stay blue.
Choose a water-friendly lifestyle - make a difference!