SENATE, No. 246

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

214th LEGISLATURE

 

PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 2010 SESSION

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  CHRISTOPHER "KIP" BATEMAN

District 16 (Morris and Somerset)

Senator  ANDREW R. CIESLA

District 10 (Monmouth and Ocean)

 

Co-Sponsored by:

Senators Weinberg, Gordon and Greenstein

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Prohibits health care institutions from discharging medications into sewer or septic systems.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     Introduced Pending Technical Review by Legislative Counsel

  


An Act concerning health care institutions and unused medications, and supplementing P.L.1977, c.74 (C.58:10A-1 et seq.).

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    a.   No health care institution, or any employee, staff person, contractor, or other person under the direction or supervision of the health care institution, may discharge, dispose of, flush, pour, or empty any unused medication into a public wastewater collection system or a septic system.

     b.    As used in this section:

     “Health care institution” means any public or private institution, facility, or agency licensed, certified, or otherwise authorized by State law to administer health care in the ordinary course of business, including hospitals, nursing homes, residential health care facilities, home health care agencies, hospice programs operating in this State, institutions, facilities or agencies that provide services to persons with mental health illnesses, or institutions, facilities and agencies that provide services for persons with developmental disabilities; and

     “Public wastewater collection system” means any collection system regulated by the Department of Environmental Protection pursuant to the  “Water Pollution Control Act,” P.L.1977, c.74 (C.58:10A-1 et seq.), and which system consists of structures  which, operating alone or with other structures, result in the collection and conveyance or transmission of wastewater from private, commercial, institutional, or industrial sources, to public wastewater treatment systems for subsequent treatment.

 

     2.    This act shall take effect on the 90th day after the date of enactment.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill would prohibit a health care institution, or any employee, staff person, contractor, or other person under the direction or supervision of the health care institution, from discharging, disposing of, flushing, pouring, or emptying any unused medication into a public wastewater collection system or a septic system.

     A health care institution found in violation of any provision of this bill would be subject to the penalty provisions of the “Water Pollution Control Act.” 

     Under this bill, a “health care institution” is defined as any public or private institution, facility, or agency licensed, certified, or otherwise authorized by State law to administer health care in the ordinary course of business, including hospitals, nursing homes, residential health care facilities, home health care agencies, hospice programs operating in this State, institutions, facilities or agencies that provide services to persons with mental health illnesses, or institutions, facilities and agencies that provide services for persons with developmental disabilities.

     This bill responds to the growing threat to the environment and human health posed by the improper disposal of unused medications, which has been manifested in recent reports of prescription drugs found in public water supplies and the potential hazards this poses in terms of long-term health consequences, and the rampant abuse of medications, especially among teenagers.

     According to the Associated Press (AP), a vast array of pharmaceuticals – including antibiotics, anti-convulsants, mood stabilizers, and sex hormones – have been found in the drinking water supplies of some 41 million Americans.  In the course of a five-month inquiry, an AP National Investigative Team discovered that medications have been detected in the drinking water supplies of 24 major metropolitan areas, including New Jersey.  It has also been reported that researchers at the United States Geological Survey analyzed a Passaic Valley Water Commission drinking water treatment plant, which serves 850,000 people in northern New Jersey, and found a metabolized angina medicine and the mood-stabilizing carbamazepine in drinking water.