Hazardous material tape surrounded the entryways to 831 Ala. on Thursday, a residence where federal authorities conducted a multiday cleanup of a mercury spill.
Behind the caution tape, Kansas Department of Health and Environment officials had posted bright orange signs near the doors indicating the home may have been used as an illegal drug manufacturing site. Spokeswoman Maggie Thompson said methamphetamine was found inside the home.
About a pound, or two to three tablespoons, of mercury inside a toilet spilled onto the floor of a bathroom inside the residence, creating a hazard, Environmental Protection Agency representatives said.
The mercury spill occurred Monday while the landlord and property owner was changing out a toilet stool in one side of the home, which is a duplex, said Chris Whitley, EPA spokesman.
“When he lifted (the toilet) up off the wax ring that connects it to the floor, there was some liquid mercury that spilled out onto the floor,” he said.
During the mercury spill cleanup, state officials were called to investigate evidence of meth in the house, said Maggie Thompson, Kansas Department of Health and Environment spokeswoman.
It is uncommon for mercury to be found in a toilet, said Doug Ferguson, an EPA representative on scene.
Though rare, Whitley said, mercury can be used to make meth. He said there were no indications that the discovered mercury had anything to do with drug activity.
Lawrence Police Sgt. Bill Cory said officers are in the middle of a drug investigation but “it is unknown if the mercury spill is connected.” He said no arrests have been made.
The EPA had been cleaning up the mercury spill since Tuesday, Whitley said.
The occupants of the other side of the duplex said they were kept out of their home Monday night, but were allowed to return Tuesday.