Justice Department details meth lab cleanup program

Posted at 2:45 p.m. on August 6, 2018

The Brillion News

GREEN BAY – Attorney General Brad Schimel announced Monday, August 6, that six methamphetamine chemical storage containers will be placed across Wisconsin by the state Department of Justice to assist local law enforcement with meth lab clean up.

These special containers provided by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will save local law enforcement time, money, and increase the safety and security during a clandestine meth lab response. It is estimated these containers will on average help reduce cleanup costs by approximately 90 percent. “These specialized containers are going to help reduce the resources needed to clean up meth labs and make communities safer after a lab is found, ” Schimel said. A FBI report from 2017 estimates that from 2011 to 2015, methamphetamine use in Wisconsin likely expanded between 250 and 300 percent. From 2012 to 2015, 73 percent of Wisconsin counties have had at least one meth lab; each pound of meth produced creates five to six pounds of hazardous waste. The remediation of meth labs is very costly and dangerous, requiring highly specialized equipment and personnel. The state Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) estimated that, in 2014 and 2015 meth lab cleanup costs exceeded $235,000. To reduce costs and increase safety of meth lab clean up, new methamphetamine chemical storage containers will be placed Barron, Brown, Dane, Eau Claire, Marathon, and Vernon counties, in partnership with each county’s sheriff’s office and DCI. Prior to the placement of the meth chemical storage containers, law enforcement had to guard lab sites sometimes for several hours while waiting for qualified contractors to arrive and remove the waste. Now, local and state law enforcement certified in meth lab stabilization and disposal will be able transport the dangerous waste to the nearest secure container, immediately restoring the safety and security of the community.

This will also allow contractors to collect the hazardous waste in larger batches, decreasing costs incurred.

On average, a single meth lab cleanup will cost at least $3,000, not including overtime. By using the meth chemical storage containers, a single meth lab cleanup will only cost $300 on average. The cost to the DEA to establish the containers and initially maintain supplies is estimated at $250,000; ongoing costs will increase over time as additional equipment and supplies are issued.

To learn more about the impact of meth use in Wisconsin go to: www.knowmethwi.org.

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