A missing tank of chlorine, stolen from a rural O'Brien County water treatment station, has raised concerns about the possibility of a drug cook operation, according to a deputy with the state fire marshal's office.
The 150-pound tank was stolen sometime between Thursday afternoon and Friday afternoon, deputy marshal David Schipper said. It was found at about 4 p.m. Saturday in a ditch near the Clay-Buena Vista County line. The location is about five miles from where the tank was taken.
The investigation was continuing but Schipper is concerned that the chlorine could be used to manufacture what he called a "simulated methamphetamine."
"They make clear crystal powder and they sell it as meth even though it's not meth - but will make you high," Schipper said. "I don't know if this is going to become the next, latest fad, or what, but we'll have to wait and see I guess."
Chlorine can be fatal if inhaled and in its liquid state could "burn, penetrate or eat through anything," Schipper said.
"It's just not something you want to mess with," he said.
The tank has been in a locked storage room at the station, located in southeastern O'Brien County, officials said.
* Spencer Daily Reporter