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New meth lab clean-up program starts, AG Cooper announces

Release date: 3/19/2012

SBI containers provide for safe meth lab disposal at no cost to local governments

Wilson: Local law enforcement in North Carolina now has a safe, less costly way to dispose of toxic waste from methamphetamine labs, Attorney General Roy Cooper announced Monday.
 
“Criminals who make meth leave behind a potentially deadly brew of chemicals that can put neighbors at risk,” Cooper said. “Local law enforcement can now have these toxic waste sites cleaned up at no cost to them.”
 
The Clandestine Laboratory Hazardous Waste Storage Container Program, a joint effort by the State Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Governor’s Crime Commission, provides safe disposal of dangerous meth lab waste at no cost to local law enforcement.  North Carolina is one of only eight states in the country to use this innovative solution for handling the toxic chemicals left behind at meth labs.
 
Local law enforcement agencies have had to cover the costs of hazardous waste clean-up at meth lab sites for much of the past year after federal funding dried up. The SBI was briefly able to cover the costs, but that funding was exhausted quickly and local governments had to foot the bill.
 
Under the program launched this week, SBI agents and trained local officers will remove, neutralize and package meth lab waste and SBI agents will then transport it to four container sites for pickup and destruction by a hazardous waste contractor.
 
The container sites are located at Sheriffs’ offices in Davie, Haywood, Sampson and Wilson counties. DEA inspectors visited the sites last week and approval for them to begin receiving waste is expected shortly. Cooper visited the Wilson County site Monday and planned to visit the Davie County site on Tuesday.
 
Law enforcement can use any container site in the state. Hazardous waste will be removed weekly from the containers. An additional four container sites are expected to be in place later this year and locations are still being determined for those sites.
 
After law enforcement removes waste from a meth lab site, property owners are responsible for rehabilitating the property based on guidelines set by the North Carolina Division of Public Health.
 
Meth is a highly addictive illegal drug that can be cooked in labs located in homes, apartments, and even cars. Chemicals used in cooking meth include organic solvents and corrosive acids and bases that pose a significant health risk to anyone who comes in contact with them. 
 
Specially trained SBI agents busted a record 344 meth labs last year; children were found at 82 of those meth lab sites including a baby recovered from a lab in Hoke County. Agents have responded to more than 120 labs so far in 2012, including at least 14 where children were found.



Media contact:  Noelle Talley (919) 716-6413