Since the U.S. Geological Survey studied 139 streams around the county in 2000 and found that 80 percent of them contained residues of painkillers, hormones, antibiotics and other pharmaceuticals, local efforts to divert old and unused drugs from landfills and wastewater treatment facilities cropped up across the nation. The Idea Center wrote last February about one such effort in San Mateo County, Calif. Now, a new effort is underway that will make Iowa one of the first states to collect and properly dispose of pharmaceuticals statewide. The one-year pilot project, overseen and funded by the state Department of Natural Resources, will begin with 15 counties around Des Moines, and will contract with pharmacies in the area to serve as collection sites. From these sites, the meds will be sent to a special incinerator in Utah. The pilot will also serve assisted-living facilities, hospices, long-term-care facilities and other entities without access to pharmaceutical disposal sites. If successful, the pilot will be expanded statewide. To learn more, contact Tom Anderson at 515-281-8623.