Three-Eyed Fish

Every single day, the Borough’s Wastewater Treatment Plant treats around 3 million gallons of wastewater from the Borough, North Middleton Twp., South Middleton Twp., Middlesex Twp., and Silver Spring Twp. These are its stories.

Flushing old prescription drugs down the toilet used to be the most common way people would dispose of unused medicine. Now we’ve started to realize that flushing pharmaceuticals into our sewer system and into public waterways is not a great idea! Many of the chemicals in these drugs are resistant to wastewater treatment and end up in the water.

Do you remember Blinky, the three-eyed fish from The Simpsons? Flushing drugs shouldn’t create three-eyed fish like the nuclear waste did in Springfield, but it can disrupt the ecosystem, even in small amounts. These drugs will often accumulate in the fish over time. A study by the journal Environmental Science studied male fish whose brains contained trace amounts of anti-anxiety drugs. These fish actually became less effective at seeking shelter from predators. Other fish exposed to small concentrations of blood pressure medication experienced stunted growth and thyroid problems.

Instead of flushing unused prescriptions down the toilet, you can take them to one of the many drop boxes in Cumberland County. There is even one at the Carlisle Police Department. You can find a complete list of drop boxes on the county’s website.