Water Quality > Pharmaceuticals


Partnered with Cornell University since 2015, Riverkeeper has documented dozens of compounds associated with pharmaceuticals, personal care products, pesticides and industrial compounds in the Hudson River Watershed. Ninety pharmaceutical compounds or their breakdown products have been detected in surveys to date. Pharmaceuticals are found in higher number and at higher concentrations near the outfalls of sewage treatment plants, indicating that the pharmaceuticals we excrete, and the unused pharmaceuticals flushed down the drain, are entering our waterways.

While each compound is detected at low levels, it is unknown what effects the mix of “micropollutants” might have on the ecosystem or human health.This research is helping to fill a global knowledge gap. As the Cary Institute has reported, research on the ecological effects of pharmaceuticals, pesticides and industrial chemicals is “severely lacking” despite an explosion of global manufacture and use, particularly since 1970.

To keep unused pharmaceuticals out of our water – and out of the hands of those who might abuse them – Riverkeeper advocates for the safe, responsible disposal of pharmaceuticals.

National Prescription Drug Take-Back Days are held in April and October, and many counties and municipalities host additional take-back days throughout the year. Many law enforcement agencies have drop-boxes where people can safely dispose of pharmaceuticals, often 24-7.

Rockland County has approved a first for the East Coast, a county law requiring retail pharmacies with three or more locations to take back and safely dispose of pharmaceuticals. We hope other counties will follow. Pharmacies have until May 1, 2017 to apply for a pilot DEC program to cover costs of collection and disposal at retail pharmacies for two years.


National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

The next National Take-Back Day is April 29,  2017, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Check here for details. As of April 25, these Hudson River Watershed events had been listed (click each county for an updated listing):


  • 90th Precinct, 211 Union Avenue (Williamsburg)
  • 84 Precinct, 301 Gold Street
  • 61 Precinct (Homecrest), 2575 Coney Island Avenue
  • 78 Precinct (Flatbush), 65 Sixth Avenue
  • 68 Precinct (Bay Ridge), 333 65th Street


  • 50th Precinct, 3450 Kingsbridge Avenue, Kingsbridge
  • 45 Precinct, 2877 Barkley Avenue, Schuylerville
  • 46 Precinct, 2120 Ryer Avenue, Fordham
  • 48 Precinct, 450 Cross Bronx Expressway, East Tremont
  • 42 Precinct, 830 Washington Avenue, Moorrisania


  • 103rd Precinct, 168-02 PO Edward Byrne Avenue, Jamaica
  • 112th Precinct, 68-04 Austin Street, Forest Hills
  • 100th Precinct, 92-24 Rockaway Beach Boulevard, Rockaway
  • 111 Precinct, 45-06 215th St, Bayside


  • 7 Precinct, 19 1/2 Pitt Street, Lower East Side
  • 10 Precinct, 230 West 20th Street, Chelsea
  • 13 Precinct, 230 East 21st Street, Stuyvesant Town
  • 20 Precinct, 120 West 82nd Street
  • 25 Precinct, 120 East 119th Street
  • Columbia University, 535 West 116th Street, College Walk
  • Columbia University, 104 Haven Avenue


  • 123rd Precinct, 116 Main Street, Tottenville
  • 120th Precinct, 78 Richmond Terrace, St George
  • 122nd Precinct, 2320 Hylan Avenue, New Dorp


  • Croton Commons Shopping Plaza, 171-187 South Riverside Ave, Croton-on-Hudson
  • Ardsley Village Hall, 1st Floor, 507 Ashford Avenue
  • Ardsley Police Station, 41 Victoria Road (Entrance on American Legion Drive)
  • Mount Kisco: Westchester County Police, 40 Green Street, Mount Kisco


  • CVS Pharmacy, 280 South Main St, New City (Clarkstown Police)
  • CVS Pharmacy, 330 Route 304, Bardonia (Clarkstown Police)
  • CVS Pharmacy, 12 West Ramapo Road, Garnerville (Haverstraw Police)
  • Orangetown Police Department, 26 West Orangeburg Road, Orangeburg
  • Rockland County Sheriff’s Office, 11 New Hemstead, New City


  • Bethel Township Senior Center, 3594 State Route 55, Pawling


  • Kingston City Police, 1 Garraghan Drive, Kingston
  • New Paltz Police, 83 S. Putt Corners Road, New Paltz


  • Sheriff’s Office, Hillsdale Sub Station, 2684 Route 23, Hillsdale
  • Sheriff’s Office, 85 Industrial Tract, Hudson
  • Chatham Police, 77 Main Street, Chatham


  • Round Lake Volunteer Fire Dept., 13 Curry Road, Leeds
  • CVS Hannaford Plaza, 223 Main St, Cairo
  • Town of Hunter Police, 5748 State Route 23A, Tannersville
  • Coxsackie Police, 119 Mansion Street, Coxsackie
  • Windham Pharmacy, 51 State Road 296, Windham


  • West Sand Lake Fire Dept., 3697 Route 43, West Sand Lake
  • North End Fire Station, 2 St. Francis Place, Rensselaer
  • East Greenbush Police, 225 Columbia Turnpike, Rensselaer
  • Schodack Police, 1797 Columbia Turnpike, Castleton
  • Village of Hoosick Falls Police, 29 Main Street, Hoosick Falls
  • Troy Police, 55 State Street, Troy


  • Guilderland Public Library (Auxillary Parking Lot), 2228 Western Ave., Guilderland
  • Albany College of Pharmacy, Car Port, 106 New Scotland Ave., Albany
  • Colonie Police, 312 Wolf Road, Latham
  • CVS Pharmacy, 885 Central Ave., Albany
  • Albany Police, South Station, 126 Arch St., Albany
  • Watervliet Police, 2-15th Street, Watervliet
  • Albany County Sheriff’s Office, 58 Verda Avenue, Clarksville
  • Bethlehem Town Park (front parking lot), 249 Elm Avenue, Delmar


  • Clifton Park Public Safety Building, 5 Municipal Plaza, State Route 146, Clifton Park
  • Clifton Park-Halfmoon Emergency Squad, 15 Crossing Blvd, Clifton Park
  • City Hall, 474 Broadway, Saratoga Springs
  • Moreau Community Center, 144 Main St., South Glens Falls
  • Ballston Spa Police, 30 Bath St., Ballston Spa
  • CVS Pharmacy, 12 South Central Ave., Mechanicville
  • Saratoga Emergency Hospital Dept Parking Lot, 211 Church St., Saratoga Springs


  • Moreau Emergency Squad, 1583 Route 9, Fort Edward
  • Whitehall Police, 57 Skenesborough Drive, Whitehall
  • Washington County Law Enforcement Center, 399 Broadway, Fort Edward


  • Moriah Police, 42 Park Place, Port Henry
  • Essex County Sheriff’s Office, 702 Stowersville Road, Lewis
  • Ticonderoga Police, 135 Burgoyne Road, Ticonderoga
  • Schroon Lake Town Hall, 15 Leland Ave., Schroon Lake


  • Niskayuna Town Hall, 1 Niskayuna Circle, Niskayuna
  • Glenville Municipal Center, Police Entrance, 18 Glenridge Road, Glenville
  • Sheriff’s Office Substation, 130 Prinetown Plaza, Schenectady
  • Schenectady Police Dept., 531 Liberty St., Schenectady
  • Rotterdam Police Dept., 101 Princetown Road, Rotterdam
  • Scotia Police, 4 North Ten Broeck Street, Scotia


  • Sheriff’s Office, 2712 State Highway 29, Johnstown
  • Johnstown Police, 41 East Main St., Johnstown


  • Rome Police Department, 301 N. James St.
  • Utica Police Department, 413 Oriskany St
  • New Hartford Police Dept., 32 Kellogg Road, New Hartford
  • Kinney Drugs, 12 Franklin Ave., Clinton


  • Kinney Drugs, 401 1st Street, , Ilion
  • Herkimer Police Dept., 120 Green Street, Herkimer
  • Herkimer County Sheriff’s Office, 320 North Main Street, Suite 2900, Herkimer


Medication Drop Box Locations

Use the following links to identify locations where you can drop-off unused pharmaceuticals in the Hudson River Watershed.


  • Albany County (Latham)
  • Columbia County (Chattham and Hudson)
  • Dutchess County (Beacon, Poughkeepsie, Hopewell Junction, Hyde Park, Salt Point, Pawling, Millerton, Red Hook, Wappingers Falls)
  • Greene County (Catskill, Cairo, Coxsackie, Durham, Windham)
  • Orange County (Newbrugh, Montgomery, Goshen, Port Jervis)
  • Putnam County (Brewster, Carmel, Cold Spring, Kent Lakes, Mahopac, Patterson, Putnam Valley)
  • Rensselaer County (North Greenbush)
  • Rockland County (Sheriff’s office and nine municipal police departments)
  • Ulster County (Saugerties, Ellenville, Rosendale, New Paltz, Kingston, Woodstock, Highland, Lake Katrine, Milton, Clintondale, Shokan, Phoenicia, Napanoch, Port Ewen, Stone Ridge, Allaben, Wallkill)
  • Westchester County (Croton-on-Hudson, Yorktown Heights, Ardsley, Bedford, Briarcliff Manor, Eastchester, Greenburgh, Lewisboro, Mount Pleasant, Mount Vernon, Ossining, Peekskill, Pleasantville, Port Chester, Pound Ridge, Rye Brook, Rye City, Scarsdale, Somers, Tarrytown, White Plains)




  • Fulton County (Johnstown)
  • Montgomery County
  • Oneida County (Oneida)
  • Herkimer County (Herkimer)
  • Schenectady County (Schenectady)
  • Schoharie County (Cobleskill)


The Department of Environmental Conservation has more information about responsible pharmaceuticals disposal here.


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