Facts and Fanfare for Recycling News in Tulsa County

Tulsa Master Recyclers Association

WIN WIN: Tulsa County Pharmacy celebrated the milestone of $10 million dollars worth of leftover prescription drugs repurposed to clients in need, while saving taxpayers money. Two retired Tulsa doctors spearheaded this cause in the 1990s. They are, from left, Dr. George Prothro and Dr. Jerry Gustafson. This program is the first of its kind in the nation and is now in more than 38 states and Canada.

BETH TURNER for GTR Newspapers

Tulsa County continues to amaze and inspire not just eco-lovers, but governments, surrounding states and even other countries.

To start with, the Tulsa County Drug Recycling Program recently celebrated the landmark of recycling the wholesale value of $10 million worth of prescription drugs. In honor of the program’s founder, George Prothro, the Tulsa County Medical Pharmacy officially changed its name The George Prothro M.D. Pharmacy of Tulsa County. Prothro and fellow doctor Jerry Gustafson, both now retired, helped trail blaze legislation to allow the proper recycling of prescription drugs, which has since been adopted in 38 states and in Canada. This has led to a look at proper disposal of drugs including drop-off sites outside police stations.

To find the many ways unused drugs can be recycled or properly disposed, log on to www.tcmsok.org. Whether you’d like to donate them to Tulsa County Pharmacy, on hazardous waste drop off days, or incinerated at Tulsa’s Trash-to-Energy plant, Kristi Shreve with city of Tulsa Environmental Compliance says, “Just don’t flush them.”

Water Talk
After two years of public education, the City of Tulsa sent a postcard recently announcing that in July, engineers will begin adding chloramines to our water supply.

I spoke with City of Tulsa’s Chief Engineer on the project, Joan Arthur.

Arthur says to understand the need for the switch, you must understand the Tulsa County water system. “We operate 2,200 miles of pipe. Towns from Okmulgee to Glenpool purchase water from us. That water has to come out at the very end of our pipes as clean as it’s sourced in.

“Chlorine breaks down pretty quickly,” says Arthur. “If you combine chlorine and ammonia, the disinfectant properties will stay true to the end of that 2,200 miles of pipe.”

Federal standards require a limit of chloramine levels at 4 parts per billion (ppb or one part per one billion). Arthur says thanks to investments in water filtration systems over the past ten years, Tulsa will use 2 ppb.

The big concern for this change will be for owners of fish tanks and kidney dialysis offices. “Dialysis offices already test and remove chlorine from water used for their procedures. But, there are two tests out there and one doesn’t test for chloramine. All of them already filter the water taking care of the problem but we do not want to leave anything to chance.”

Arthur also says if owners of fish tanks already add tap water conditioner to tank water then they, too, are taking care of the chloramine threat. If not, Arthur says to pick some up and use it from now on.

Another note from Arthur concerns home filtration systems. “You probably won’t notice any change in the water’s taste. But if you use a filtering system at home, say, through your fridge’s water dispenser, then make sure you follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for changing the filter. Some organisms feed off ammonia and if left alone too long, can grow on your filter.”

Updated 08-10-2012

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