Flushed Hypodermic Needles an Expensive, Dangerous Problem at McKinley Park

SACRAMENTO -- Sacramento City Council member Jeff Harris will ask fellow council members Tuesday to approve a $50,000 grinder to be used under the bathroom next to the play area at McKinley Park.

Harris says there has been an issue lately of drug users flushing hypodermic needles down the toilet.

"Drug use is a citywide problem, especially injectables. Heroin is really the issue," Harris said.

And while McKinley Park's bathrooms are not the only place drug users dispose of needles down the toilet, the unique circumstance about McKinley Park is that the sewage system is actually above where the pipes lead from the restroom itself, meaning waste needs to be pumped upward, and that's where clogging becomes an issue.

Harris says a grinder should cost the city about $50,000 and that it's a far better alternative than having to pay thousands of dollars each time the bathroom becomes clogged.

The city of Sacramento's Parks and Recreation Director Chris Conlin says his department came up with the idea of the grinder. He added that the needle issue has increased as of late, although he does not know exactly why.

Both Harris and Conlin expect unanimous approval of the grinder from the City Council at Tuesday night's meeting