North Carolina Department of Justice
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SBI finds solution to NC meth lab clean-up

Release date: 9/8/2011

New plan will help local officers safely dispose of explosives, toxins

Raleigh: Local law enforcement in North Carolina will have a safe, less costly way to dispose of toxic waste from methamphetamine labs thanks to a new plan announced by the State Bureau of Investigation this week.
 
In February the US Drug Enforcement Administration notified law enforcement in North Carolina and across the country that it would no longer pay to clean up hazardous waste at methamphetamine sites as it had for more than a decade. The State Bureau of Investigation was briefly able to cover the costs, but that funding was exhausted quickly and local governments have since had to foot the bill.
 
The Clandestine Laboratory Hazardous Waste Storage Container Program, a joint effort by the SBI, the DEA and the Governor’s Crime Commission, will allow for safe disposal of dangerous meth lab waste at no cost to law enforcement.
 
“Our agents find dangerous chemicals in meth labs that are a threat to public health, safety and the environment,” said SBI Director Greg McLeod. “Law enforcement needs a reliable, cost-effective way to deal with the hazards left by criminals who make meth.”
 
Trained local officers will neutralize and package meth lab waste, which SBI agents will then transport to container sites managed by the SBI for pickup and destruction by a hazardous waste contractor. North Carolina will be one of only seven states in the country to use this solution for handling the toxic chemicals left behind at meth labs.
 
“This program gives local law enforcement a safe and affordable way to get dangerous meth lab waste out of our communities.  We’re pleased to partner with the SBI on this effort,” said Chatham County Sheriff Richard Webster, President of the NC Sheriffs’ Association.
 
“We appreciate the support of the SBI in this important public safety matter.  This is a great example of the outstanding working relationship between the SBI and local police departments,” said Jacksonville Police Chief Mike Yaniero, President of the NC Metro Chiefs Association.
 
McLeod told sheriffs and chiefs of police about the new plan for disposing of meth lab waste in a memo this week. An SBI grant from the Governor’s Crime Commission will pay for training, equipment and start-up costs. 
 
All law enforcement officers in the state who are certified to respond to meth labs will be trained in the new process. The first training will take place this week in Raleigh, with more sessions planned for the next three months. Once training is completed and equipment is in place, the program is expected to be fully operational by January 1, 2012.
 
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 have busted 227 meth labs so far this year, and more than 50 children have been found in those labs.



Contact: Noelle Talley (919) 716-6413