The Suburbanite
  • Ohio adding hazmat containers to aid meth lab cleanups

  • Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and other officials were on hand Monday as law enforcement got some help to deal with the increasing problem of methamphetamine.

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  • Ohio law enforcement got a helping hand in the ongoing battle against methamphetamine.
    Five new chemical storage containers -- about the size and shape of a metal storage shed -- have been installed across the state. The containers are designed to house the dangerous chemicals and other byproducts created in a meth lab until they can be disposed of by Drug Enforcement Administration contractors.
    The containers will cut down on the time and money required to clean up meth labs, Attorney General Mike DeWine said Monday during a news conference.
    DeWine and other officials were on hand to debut one of the new containers at the Highway Patrol post on Shuffel Street NW. Other containers are housed in Athens, Lebanon, Columbus and Ottawa.
    Law enforcement can safely dispose of small meth labs but need help with larger ones. That often meant guarding a lab until DEA contractors could arrive, DeWine said.
    And contractors are expensive -- it can cost $1,000 to $2,500 to clean up a single site, he said.
    Now trained officers can transport stabilized chemicals from the meth lab to the storage units, which can hold up to 220 pounds of material.
    The units are located in secured areas with 24-hour monitoring and will be cleaned on a regular basis. Only trained officers will have access to the containers, and the units are designed with a blast wall to ensure safety, said Scott Duff, special agent supervisor with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation and the head of BCI’s meth unit.
    The containers cost about $7,000 each and were funded through a grant from the Ohio Department of Public Safety's Office of Criminal Justice Services.
    From October 2012 to September 2013, Ohio law enforcement agencies have seized 770 meth labs, compared to 607 labs last year.
    DeWine attributed the jump to increased law enforcement efforts to identify and uncover meth labs. He also cited the increasingly popular “one-pot” method of cooking meth.
    “One-pot” meth labs are often the size of Gatorade or pop bottle, Duff said. It’s a simple way of cooking meth that takes 40 minutes instead of three hours, he said.
    One-pot labs are volatile and many of them explode, he said.
    Reach Jessica at 330-580-8322 or
    On Twitter: @jholbrookREP

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