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Caution urged in highway cleanup efforts

March 22, 2006 (06-069)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

News Contact: Kim Stich, (785) 296-3585, or Lt. John Eichkorn, (785) 296-6800

Caution urged in highway cleanup efforts

Highway maintenance crews and volunteers who pick up trash along Kansas roads are urged to be aware of potentially hazardous materials – particularly materials used in the production of methamphetamine – that litter highways.

Spring weather will bring more volunteers, as well as road and highway maintenance crews, to roadways for cleanup efforts. The Kansas Department of Transportation and the Kansas Highway Patrol want to prevent injuries and assist law enforcement officers in locating and arresting those who manufacture methamphetamines.

Significant amounts of methamphetamine are being transported in vehicles, which sometimes serve as mobile meth labs, said Col. William Seck, superintendent of the KHP.

“These mobile labs are a significant threat to the safety of our troopers and to the traveling public,” Seck said. “We must do everything possible to reduce the amount of dangerous drugs on Kansas roadways.”

Those participating in highway clean-up efforts are urged to wear gloves and eye protection.

“Our KDOT staff works hard to maintain the roadways, and the Adopt-A-Highway volunteers do a great job of cleaning along the highways,” said KDOT Secretary Deb Miller. “Our top priority is their safety.”

Potentially harmful substances such as anhydrous ammonia, acid, sewer cleaner, lye, antifreeze and ethanol are some of the main ingredients used to make methamphetamine. Sometimes, containers and other materials used in the manufacture of meth, such as plastic bottles, red chemically stained coffee filters, camping fuel cans and battery casings, will be discarded along roadways.

Odors associated with recent meth production are similar to ammonia, fingernail polish remover and cat urine. Materials found where such odors are present should not be handled. Local law enforcement agencies should be contacted or the Kansas Bureau of Investigation at 1-800-KS CRIME.

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