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Clean water starts with ...


There could be some in your medicine cabinet right now — unused prescription drugs you’ve just forgotten about. Proper disposal keeps them from being misused or contaminating our fragile rivers and lakes, and now it’s easier than ever. No waiting in line, no forms to fill out — it’s self-serve, fast and easy. Leftover meds? There’s a box for that.

Locations near you

Benton County Sheriff's Office

M-F, 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Sartell Police Dept.

M-F, 8 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Sauk Rapids Govt. Center

M-F, 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Stearns County Law Enforcement Center

M-F, 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Melrose Police Dept.

M-F, 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Paynesville Police Dept.

M-F, 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Waite Park Police Dept.

M-F, 7:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Unappreciated and often overworked, dumpsters and bins never seem to mind taking our trash. When their lids are left open, garbage can fall out and rain can get in, allowing undesirable material and debris to wash down storm drains polluting our lakes and rivers. You can help dumpsters do their job by avoiding overfilling, properly bagging your garbage, and always closing the lid. Happy dumpster, happy water, happy you.

Whether you drink it for your pocketbook or the planet, tap water is the smart option compared to bottled water. For starters, bottled water is about 500 times more expensive than tap. Then there’s the environmental impact — it takes over 1.5 million barrels of oil a year to produce all those plastic bottles, most of which still end up in landfills. Add the rigid health standards and testing that municipal water goes through, and tap wins again. Any way you pour it, tap tops bottled every time!

Leftover household products that contain corrosive, toxic, ignitable, or reactive ingredients are considered to be household hazardous waste (HHW). Products, such as paints, cleaners, oils, batteries, and pesticides that contain potentially hazardous ingredients require special care should be recycled or disposed of at area collection sites.

Learning the right way to get rid of used cooking oil, fat and grease helps prevent clogging and overflow of wastewater that can pose serious health and environmental concerns. So the next time you make bacon for breakfast or fried chicken for dinner, put the leftover fat into a sealable container and then into the trash. Keep out the fat, and go with the flow — one more smart, easy way to help protect the water we all share.

Every day, our lakes, rivers and drinking water sources are getting a strong dose of chemicals from the products we put on and into our bodies. Artificial fragrances, parabens, preservatives, and Triclosan are just some of the culprits washing off or passing through our bodies that wastewater treatment can’t remove. You can help by learning what to avoid, reading labels, and switching to natural, water-friendly products. That’s the smart way to shop — for the water, wildlife and all of us.

Learn more about how to keep your body contaminant free.

It turns out that plain soap and water is just as effective as antibacterial soaps for keeping hands clean and germ free. But Triclosan, the chemical compound added to some liquid soaps, toothpaste, cosmetics and more, is linked to water quality concerns and potential impacts on human health.* That’s why the Minnesota Department of Health recommends plain soap and water, with vigorous rubbing of your hands as the most important step, to wash your hands. Next time you see Triclosan on the label, don’t buy the product or the claim that it’s better. Simple soap and water is the safer way to keep clean — for our waterways, wildlife and all of us.

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