Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Illinois American Water Accepts National Communication Achievement Award

Illinois American Water was selected by the American Water Works Association (AWWA) to receive the 2011 Communications Achievement Award in recognition of the company’s outreach regarding proper pharmaceutical disposal. The award recognizes AWWA member organizations for fostering and supporting the development of public outreach programs and integrating public affairs as a core element of utility planning and management. Past recipients include San Francisco (Calif.) Public Utility Commission Water Quality Div., Metro Vancouver (B.C.), City of San Diego (Calif.) Public Utilities Department and Denver (Colo.) Water.
Illinois American Water President Karla Olson Teasley and External Affairs Manager Karen Cotton  accepted the award during AWWA’s national conference on Monday, June 11, 2012 in Dallas, TX. Working in collaboration with Prescription Pill and Drug Disposal Program (P2D2) and Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Illinois American Water launched a public awareness campaign to educate the public about proper pharmaceutical disposal.

Goals of the program include increasing awareness and reducing pharmaceuticals in water through the creation of community pharmaceutical disposal programs. Through these community programs supported by Illinois American Water, residents are encouraged to drop off their unwanted medications so they can be incinerated, which is the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) recommended approach for pharmaceutical disposal. Flushing medications down the toilet or the drain as well as throwing them in the trash are discouraged.

According to Deirdre Mueller, Public Affairs Manager for AWWA, “Many accomplished individuals and organizations were considered and the selection process was rigorous. AWWA’s Public Affairs Council selection committee was very impressed by the work Illinois American Water completed in 2011.”

Through partnership with local pharmacies, police departments and government officials, Illinois American Water has implemented and supported 28 pharmaceutical disposal programs across the state including sites in Alton, Bartonville, Belleville, Caseyville, Champaign, Chicago (two sites), Chillicothe, Collinsville, Columbia, Dixon, Fairmont, Maryville, Morrison, Mt. Vernon, O’Fallon, Orland Hills, Pekin, Peoria (three sites), Peoria Heights, Pontiac, South Beloit, Sterling, Streator, Urbana and Waterloo.

The pharmaceutical disposal programs are created through the model program P2D2 which was developed by Pontiac Township High School students and their teacher Paul Ritter. P2D2, is recognized by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, the Illinois EPA and the Department of Natural Resources as a model for all pharmaceutical disposal programs. Through Illinois American Water’s and P2D2’s efforts, thousands of pounds of unwanted medications have been properly disposed. More information and disposal locations can be found at http://www.epa.state.il.us/medication-disposal/locations/

About AWWA

Founded in 1881, AWWA is an international nonprofit educational association dedicated to safe water and the authoritative resource for knowledge, information, and advocacy for improving the quality and supply of water in North America and beyond.

About Illinois American Water
Illinois American Water, a wholly owned subsidiary of American Water (NYSE: AWK), is the largest investor-owned water utility in the state, providing high-quality and reliable water and/or wastewater services to more than 1.2 million people. American Water also operates a customer service center in Alton and a quality control and research laboratory in Belleville. Founded in 1886, American Water is the largest publicly traded U.S. water and wastewater utility company. With headquarters in Voorhees, N.J., the company employs more than 7,000 dedicated professionals who provide drinking water, wastewater and other related services to approximately 15 million people in more than 30 states, as well as parts of Canada. More information can be found by visiting www.amwater.com .