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Apr 7, 2016 5:30 PM

State does not monitor water for illicit drugs or track needles found in wastewater

CONCORD - After NH1 News learned Wednesday that hypodermic needles were surfacing in Bristol's town waste water supply, we asked state environmental officials about how the issue is being handled.

According to the Wastewater Engineering Bureau at the Department of Environmental Services (DES), employee trainings and protocols for disposing of the needles are determined by each individual facility.

Needles are seen on a daily basis at the Bristol Water and Sewer Department, officials said. The superintendent said employees are informed of how to handle the needles when cleaning the traps, and they have designated sharps containers for proper disposal.

But how are dirty needles ending up in the wastewater supply? The concern is that diabetics or drug users are using their toilets to dispose of the hazardous objects.

According to DES officials, the state does not monitor water supplies for illicit drugs, per EPA regulations. There is also no current tracking system for needles found in public wastewater, but there is a campaign to educate the public on safe disposal.

"We're not actually tracking specific types of needles. There's diabetics and whatnot so this campaign has been going on for some time so we're hoping to get out to the entire community that just don't flush needles of any sort," said Tracy Wood, a spokesperson for the Wastewater Engineering Bureau.

According to the state website, there are 25 public places in the state that have needle drop boxes.

People can also put used needles in a clearly labeled solid plastic container.

To print your own labels, click here.

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