DULUTH, Minn. -

Today was a chance for Northlanders to clean out their medicine cabinets, all in the name of public health and safety.

This one day event at the Western Lake Superior Sanitary District (WLSSD) is an opportunity for folks to get rid of unneeded or unwanted medications.

Police officers and pharmacists work to separate pills and other materials for disposal.

Crews at the WLSSD prepare the medicinal waste for high-heat incineration.

“We’re really concerned with water quality,” said WLSSD Environmental Program Coordinator Sarah Lerohl. “These medicines when they get into our water from flushing or other sorts of means are very difficult or impossible to remove and we want to make sure that we don’t get this stuff in our water.”

Lerohl says this disposal event is an important public service.

“The biggest is the risk of accidental ingestion – you can have a poisoning,” she said. “But also theft, or illicit use from having the drugs around that you don’t need or want.”

The WLSSD will have more collection events in the spring, summer, and fall of next year.

They say that residents of St. Louis, Carlton, and Douglas Counties can find drop of boxes at law enforcement centers around the area.