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      How to identify meth lab dump sites

      So far this year, 13 meth labs have been uncovered in the Central and Western U.P. and more are expected to be discovered as the snow melts. As this becomes a growing concern, it's important to be able to know what you are looking at if you run into something suspicious.

      "In the past, we've always encouraged our invasive species teams to go out and clean any garbage or debris they find in the woods. However, last summer they did come across a site and the kids were very astute and aware and they contacted the police immediately," said Renee Leow, Marquette County Conservation District Administrator.

      Drugs are the last thing you want your children to go near, but with meth dump sites in places such as playgrounds, marinas and walking trails, it becomes harder and harder to avoid. Do your children know what to do if they find a dump site?

      The first step is to know what you are looking at if you find suspicious items.

      "Gatorade bottles with what looks like brown or white sludge in the bottom, any two liter or 20 ounce pop bottles or soda bottles with aquarium hose coming out of them," said Ron Koski, Detective Sergeant in the Michigan State Police.

      In many instances, folks were taught to pick up trash that is lying on the ground. However, if you see any of these items, the last thing you want to do is pick them up.

      "If you pick them up and there's still some remnants of the manufacturing process, there's chemical reactions that will go off if you agitate them," said Koski.

      In addition, there are other items to stay away from such as lithium ion batteries. While we use batteries every day, when lithium is exposed it can react with water and cause burns to your skin.

      The bottom line is if you ever run into any suspicious items, it is best to call the police and not deal with it yourself.

      If you still want to learn more about identifying dump sites, there is a Meth Lab Identification and Safety Workshop Wednesday, April 16th at 6 p.m. at the Marquette Township Hall.