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Tens of thousands of 'trucker bombs' litter roads

Old 06-11-05, 07:52 PM
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Tens of thousands of 'trucker bombs' litter roads

http://msnbc.msn.com/id/7912464/

‘Urine trouble,’ some states warn truckers
Tens of thousands of 'trucker bombs' litter roads




MSNBC
Updated: 4:00 p.m. ET June 2, 2005


SEATTLE — Roadside litter comes in all shapes and sizes — from dirty diapers to syringes — but there's one category that out-grosses the rest: trucker bombs.

Most drivers whiz along the nation's highways largely oblivious to their roadside surroundings. But next time you are out there, take a closer look.

"As soon as you look for it you’ll see it," says Megan Warfield, litter programs coordinator at Washington state's Department of Ecology. "You just see them glistening in the sun. It’s just gross."

They are trucker bombs, plastic jugs full of urine tossed by truckers, and even non-truckers, who refuse to make a proper potty stop to relieve themselves.

The state hasn't counted how many such jugs are found each year, but a single, small county decided to do its own tally. "In one year," Warfield says, "one crew found 2,666 bottles of urine, 67 feces covered items, not including diapers, and 18 syringes."

It even happens at rest stops. "That’s the mystery," Warfield says. "There’s a bathroom right there, there’s also a trash can."


Job stress, pressure cited
Truckers, for their part, point to a lack of convenient parking areas and an industry that's become more stressful since deregulation in the 1980s.

Urine jugs, says Todd Spencer, executive vice president of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, "are an indicator of how much stress and pressure drivers are under." Those factors range from having to get deliveries on time to making up for higher fuel prices by reducing costs elsewhere.

The legal work week for truckers is 60 hours, the former truck driver says, and "the real work week is usually 20 to 30 hours beyond that."

"What actually drives this more than anything else," he adds, "is that the vast majority of drivers are paid only for miles driven," so they cut corners where possible.

Spencer doesn't see much improvement for drivers either, saying companies would have to be forced to improve conditions.

Leigh Strope, a spokeswoman for the Teamsters union, concurs that a major factor is that "many drivers only get paid when the wheels are rolling."

But she also insists that union drivers aren't the ones stooping to urine jugs. "You won't find Teamsters urinating in jugs and littering the nation's highways," she says. "Our drivers are guaranteed rest and dinner breaks because it's in their union contract."

Handling the goods
Disposing of trucker bombs, aka torpedoes or pee bottles, is a thankless task that in many cases falls to highway cleanup crews.

California has a hazardous waste contractor to deal with human waste. In Washington, a spill response crew is called in to dispose of large volumes of trucker bombs.

Safety experts emphasize that urine is 99 percent sterile and that jugs of it can be moved if crews avoid contact with the liquid, Warfield says. But cleanup crews remain reluctant, with some fearing the liquid could actually be something else also dumped along highways — dangerous chemicals used to make the illegal drug methamphetamine.

$1,025 fine
Hoping to break truckers of the dirty habit, Washington state lawmakers created a "dangerous litter" category in 2002 and increased fines to $1,025 from $95 for general litter.

When it comes to human waste, the dangerous category covers trucker bombs and dirty diapers. Together they accounted for 8,000 pounds of trash collected from state roads last year.

The state has also launched a "Litter and it will hurt" campaign — its first prevention campaign in a decade.

"We have made a little bit of progress," Warfield says, citing a new survey that found 2,000 tons less of roadside litter than in 1999.

The Washington State Patrol issued 3,995 tickets or warnings about litter in 2003, the most recent year for which data is available, nearly 800 fewer than in 2002.

Several other states have taken similar steps to stop truckers from dumping containers of urine. Wyoming this year increased the maximum penalty for littering bodily fluid to nine months in jail and a $1,000 fine. The maximum penalty for other litter is six months in jail and a $750 fine.

Mowers 'hit them, they explode'
In April, Colorado increased its "human waste" fine from $40 to $500. Transportation employees convinced lawmakers of the need for the drastic increase with their tales of finding urine jugs as they mowed roadway ditches. "We hit them, they explode. The operator ends up wearing this stuff," Randy Dobyns told state senators.

Dobyns estimated he picks up at least 50 containers a week, sometimes milk jugs, water bottles or even bags filled with urine. "The folks who dispose of this stuff are very creative in their use of containers," he said.

Some states have gone so far as to appeal to truckers themselves, but Warfield recalls how that backfired on a colleague in Arizona. "He did not get a warm reception," she says.


Poster strategy
Darcy Wilson had another approach after her husband complained of having to pick up trucker bombs left on the grounds of a 10-acre truck stop 30 miles east of Seattle on Interstate 90, a major truck route.

She did some research and found that the state Department of Ecology had made posters that read, "This is not a urinal." The agency was happy to send her the posters, to which she attached an updated sign about the higher state litter fine.

Wilson posted a dozen on light posts and trash cans and says her husband believes he's finding fewer jugs of urine lying around the truck stop.

"People are looking at the fine," she says.

But truckers continue dumping the heavy jugs in trash cans that still have to be emptied. "Truckers don't want to walk into a bathroom" with the jugs, Wilson says, so her husband is urging his boss to order portable bathrooms where truckers could dump the containers in private.

"We'll do anything to not have to pick up that stuff," she says.

Recycling solution?
Unfortunately, a recent breakthrough in diesel filter technology that uses urine won't be helpful.

European researchers are developing a filter that uses animal urine to cut down on harmful emissions. Truckers who use the filter will fill up with the purified urea solution each time they stop for diesel.

But Oliver Kröcher, one of the filter researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute near Zurich, Switzerland, says using human urine "is not practical at all, since ... very pure urea has to be used" and that wouldn't be the case with urine straight from the source.

"Thus, there is no way to apply this crazy idea," he says.
Old 06-11-05, 07:55 PM
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Why can't the idiots who can barely drive their rig straight on the road anyways, just pour out their nasty pee? Buncha fucktards.
Old 06-11-05, 07:57 PM
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Did you know urine is sterile? You can drink it!
Old 06-11-05, 09:20 PM
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Truckers suck. If you're a trucker, you suck.
Old 06-11-05, 09:42 PM
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who left orange juice on the highway?
Old 06-11-05, 09:47 PM
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Originally Posted by DVD Polizei
Why can't the idiots who can barely drive their rig straight on the road anyways, just pour out their nasty pee? Buncha fucktards.
yeah, but that takes time...
Old 06-11-05, 10:09 PM
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eh maybe it's me, but I've never seen a single one, and I travel in a pretty heavy populated trucker area... (I-75, and I-70 mostly)

Sounds like a reporter scraping for a story.
Old 06-11-05, 11:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Breakfast with Girls
Truckers suck. If you're a trucker, you suck.
And yet WE (you and me ... that's right ... YOU too) rely on them every day of our lives...
Old 06-12-05, 12:00 AM
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That pic HAS to be staged! Either that or the trucker "saved" his piss bottles for several months before dropping them off.

Sonic
Old 06-12-05, 12:14 AM
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how is he scraping up a story? States are passing laws, one township collected hundreds of the fucking nasty things....seems pretty clear its a problem. I think it's pretty common knowledge that truckers piss in jugs to keep moving, i can imagine plenty of them aren't of the highest intellect or socially adjusted enough to give a shit about where it lands when they're done. better in the median than spilling in his cab.
Old 06-12-05, 12:26 AM
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Heh....reminds me of my military days. When we were deployed you had two options open if you had to pee:

A. Get up out of bed, put on your socks, pants, boots, shirt (and if winter add on a couple of coats), grab a flashlight, walk outside to the nearest bathroom tent and do your thing. Walk back, completely undress, and then try to fall back to sleep because by now you're wide awake. OR

B. Stand up, piss in an empty water bottle and throw in trash

I chose B.
Old 06-12-05, 12:31 AM
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Man, those jugs are pretty full. I bet these dumbasses spill the jugs in the truck fairly regularly. I do this for camping when I don't want to walk through the wet grass in the middle of the night, but I throw it in the fire.
Old 06-12-05, 12:31 AM
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Originally Posted by attrition
Heh....reminds me of my military days. When we were deployed you had two options open if you had to pee:

A. Get up out of bed, put on your socks, pants, boots, shirt (and if winter add on a couple of coats), grab a flashlight, walk outside to the nearest bathroom tent and do your thing. Walk back, completely undress, and then try to fall back to sleep because by now you're wide awake. OR

B. Stand up, piss in an empty water bottle and throw in trash

I chose B.
Reminds me of my military days when I woke up one morning and took a drink from my canteen.
Old 06-12-05, 12:35 AM
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Originally Posted by brizz
I think it's pretty common knowledge that truckers piss in jugs to keep moving, i can imagine plenty of them aren't of the highest intellect or socially adjusted enough to give a shit about where it lands when they're done. better in the median than spilling in his cab.
I guess I'm in the minority then. I've never seen a pee-jug on the side of the road.

If this is a problem that needs a law, then how about enforcing one about throwing cigarettes from a car? I see that almost everyday.

Shouldn't both follow under littering?
Old 06-12-05, 12:48 AM
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UMMM YAH...That's Nasty
Old 06-12-05, 12:57 AM
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Until today I never knew this problem was so bad, or even existed. Did a Google search and found more articles going back to 1999. After reading these articles I have a lot more sympathy for the people that have to clean up all the mess tossed out along the highways..

http://www.truckflix.com/news_article.php?newsid=2408

Colorado governor signs ‘pee bomb bill’
05/09/2005 - 10:10:57 am

Gov. Bill Owens has signed a bill that likely will likely require highway litterbugs in Colorado to visit an ATM instead of reaching into their pockets to pay the penalty.

The new law, dubbed the “pee bomb bill” by legislators, hikes the fine for tossing containers of human waste along highways in the state to $500 from the current $35.

Sponsored by Sen. Jim Isgar, D-Hesperus, SB9 won overwhelming approval in the Senate and House.

The Colorado Department of Transportation lobbied hard for the bill’s passage. Employees with the agency say they often pick up as many as 50 containers of discarded bottles of urine and soiled diapers a week on the sides of roadways.

According to the Durango Herald, workers on CDOT lawn-mowing crews say have been spattered with the waste when mower blades chew up the containers buried by the grass.

A number of CDOT employees who work on highway litter patrols have sought out anti-hepatitis injections as a preventive measure after exposure to the human waste.

Road crews soon will begin posting signs at truck stops, along major highways and at rest stops warning of the increased penalty.

“Enforcement may be a challenge,” Isgar told the Herald.

The new law takes effect July 1.
http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/152686_waste16.html


Highway workers lament increase of human waste
Tuesday, December 16, 2003

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

KENNEWICK -- Forced to clean up an increasing number of jugs and bags of human waste along highways, the Adams County Waste Reduction & Recycling office took out a full-page newspaper advertisement to combat the problem.

The ad features a photo of a plastic milk jug filled with urine, and the message, "Okay, One last time: This is not a urinal."

From March 4 to Nov. 27, 2002, one Adams County highway cleanup crew picked up 2,666 jugs of urine and 67 bags with human excrement in them.

The problem isn't limited to Adams County.

Megan Warfield, litter program coordinator for the state Department of Ecology, had posters printed that are similar to the newspaper ad and made them available for any county that wanted them. About a dozen counties have ordered copies to deal with the problem, she said.

"All of the cleanup crews encounter it. It's pretty much the same around the state," she said. "They're mostly found on interchanges near rest areas. Why can't they stop there?"

Ninety-nine percent of urine is sterile, but could be dangerous if it contains hepatitis or blood, she said.

Warfield said human waste falls under a newly created category that the Legislature created last spring: potentially dangerous litter.

Human waste, dirty diapers, cigarettes, cigars, tobacco or other items that can start a fire, and hypodermic needles or medical instruments designed to cut or pierce, fall into that category.

The fine is $1,025 for anyone caught dumping such waste, but the new penalty doesn't seem to be easing the problem.

Karen Cagle, who supervises highway cleanup crews in Eastern Washington, had never heard of urine jugs when she started her job in 1989. Now the numbers grow each year.

"Several years ago, we started finding them and didn't know what to do with them and left them. But you can't leave it there or the freeways would be (flooded)," she said. "It's incredible what's out there. Where is it going to stop?"

Gary Lembacher, who oversees the litter program in Eastern Washington, said he does not let the kids on his work crews pick up the bottles.

"I just don't trust any liquids," he said. "You don't know if it's pesticide or if there's something used in methamphetamine."

Taxpayer money not only pays for highway cleanup, but also pays for the state Department of Transportation to dispose of the human waste at the landfills.

"I don't know what the answer is," he said. "People are getting more out of control."
http://www.onecity.com/pirate/pe6/urine.html

Urine Dumping Unleashes Stream of Roadside Hazards
By STEPHANIE SIMON, Times Staff Writer


ALLEY SPRINGS, S.D.--This is not a story for the faint of heart--or the weak of bladder. It's about those times when you really, really, really have to go and you're driving across South Dakota and the next rest stop is 95 miles away. One option, of course, is to pull over and relieve yourself behind a tree. Another is to find an empty container in your car--perhaps that super-sized soda you so regret swigging--and urinate in that. Far too many people these days apparently are choosing the latter. And then they dump their makeshift port-a-potties out the window to fester until some hapless maintenance worker drives by on a lawn mower and pops the bottle, spewing human waste everywhere--including on himself. "It's a very undesirable problem," said Jerry Horner, a North Dakota road maintenance engineer. Or, as Iowa maintenance chief Will Zitterich put it: "It's disgusting." It's also alarmingly widespread. The California Highway Patrol insists that urine dumping isn't a problem in the Golden State, perhaps because restrooms beckon from fast-food joints at nearly every freeway exit. But several other states fess up to struggling with the indelicate issue of how to potty-train motorists. "For some reason, they just don't want to stop [at a restroom]," sighed Paul Cammack, a Nebraska road engineer. "It's really discouraging."

$250 Fine in Oregon
Although enforcement is admittedly difficult, Oregon recently passed a law making it a misdemeanor to toss human waste on the highway. The fine is $250. North Dakota transportation officials proposed a similar bill earlier this year, but lawmakers rejected it as unfriendly to motorists who are kind enough to visit their state. "We want to promote tourism, and this might be offensive," one legislator explained. Undaunted, transportation officials plan to push the proposal again this year, noting that they've already spent $15,000 outfitting maintenance tractors with cabs to shield crews from splattering urine. Although no state keeps exact statistics, North Dakota officials estimated that their road crews get splashed 20 to 40 times a year. Iowa has come up with an even more stomach-churning number: Officials found 147 bottles of urine along a 16-mile stretch of interstate a few years back. "Since then, we have found other places with the same type of problem," Zitterich said. To be honest, the urine bombs don't pose much of a health hazard, even to road crews. "There's almost no disease known to man that could be spread by that," said Dr. Patricia Quinlisk, Iowa's state epidemiologist. But the practice of trying to take rest stops on the run can itself be hazardous. Witness the truck driver found dead in a wreck in Utah several years ago, with his pants around his knees and a "pee jug" on the floor beside him. And officials generally blame truckers for most of the roadside waste-dumping. Many of the urine bottles are found near the rest stops and exit ramps that truckers use as makeshift campgrounds. The drivers may grab a few hours' sleep in their cabs, then chuck the day's accumulated waste out the window "instead of walking a few hundred feet to the trash can"--or, for that matter, to the restroom, Cammack said.

Some Blame Truckers
Truck drivers resent the slander. "There never was, there is not and there never will be any sort of trucking policy that endorses this alleged practice, and we in no way encourage it," said Mike Russell of American Trucking Assns. Whoever's responsible for the on-the-go pit stops, transportation officials insist it's not a question of too few bathrooms. And several motorists using the rest area near this small town on the Minnesota border agreed. Driving with five sons from Milwaukee to the Black Hills, for instance, Sue and Rich Gurgel said they never had to resort to scrambling for an empty container in their van. "We have a baby, and even he's been fine," Sue Gurgel said. "Of course, he has a diaper," her husband pointed out, "so he carries his restroom along with him."

Copyright 1999 Los Angeles Times. All Rights Reserved
Old 06-12-05, 07:31 AM
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Originally Posted by The Cow
I guess I'm in the minority then. I've never seen a pee-jug on the side of the road.

If this is a problem that needs a law, then how about enforcing one about throwing cigarettes from a car? I see that almost everyday.

Shouldn't both follow under littering?

Old 06-12-05, 10:36 AM
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Originally Posted by The Cow

If this is a problem that needs a law, then how about enforcing one about throwing cigarettes from a car? I see that almost everyday.
In New Mexico and Arizona, that WILL get you ticketed. Too many fires start that way. If you start a fire with your butt, you have to pay for it. (and you could go to jail)

I haven't seen piss jugs on the side of the road, but I suspect they would dry up pretty fast, and just be jugs with crust in them. Besides, they might put out the cigarettes.
Old 06-12-05, 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Mrs. Danger
:
If you start a fire with your butt, you have to pay for it.


Old 06-12-05, 11:20 AM
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they still must have to stop to actually do the pissing, so why not just piss in the grass/weeds on the side of the road?
Old 06-12-05, 11:25 AM
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Originally Posted by mikehunt
they still must have to stop to actually do the pissing, so why not just piss in the grass/weeds on the side of the road?

I get the impression that a lot of them do this while driving. You must have missed the following statement from one of the articles I posted.

But the practice of trying to take rest stops on the run can itself be hazardous. Witness the truck driver found dead in a wreck in Utah several years ago, with his pants around his knees and a "pee jug" on the floor beside him.
Old 06-12-05, 02:20 PM
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I pee in Gatorade bottles all the time when I'm driving home late at night (i use the ones with wide mouths btw)...but I've never once thrown them out the window. I have however accidentally left them in my car for extended period of time, and then decided to open them 'just to see' what they smelled like....bad idea.

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