Assessing and Remediating Methamphetamine Contamination
Are methamphetamine (meth) labs a problem in your area?
Are you concerned that your property may be contaminated or have been formerly used as a meth lab?
Want to learn more about getting your property tested for methamphetamine contamination?
The Drug Enforcement Agency maintains a list of contaminated homes reported by law enforcement as Clandestine Laboratories. However, this list only contains labs discovered by police departments, and that only represents approximately 5% of the number of meth labs present according to law enforcement. Homes known to have been utilized as meth labs must also be disclosed as such in real estate disclosures. Still, many homeowners across the nation have found themselves unknowingly buying a home formerly used as a meth lab. The costs of properly remediating a home contaminated with methamphetamine can easily reach into the tens of thousands of dollars which can lead to dishonest or non-forthcoming real estate disclosures.
Hazards that come along with methamphetamine labs include:
- Chemical Poisoning
- Death from exposure
- Risk of explosions and fire
- Respiratory problems
- Skin Reactions
The process of inspection and decontamination of a methamphetamine lab is quite complex, and potentially hazardous. We recommend that you hire an experienced decontamination contractor to clear the contamination and an independent inspection firm to ensure that the job has been done correctly and completely. Look for these steps in the typical remediation process:
1. Contractor selection and hiring.
Because methamphetamine contamination and remediation is fraught with potential dangers, it’s critical to make sure the team you hire is certified and experienced. Ask about their background in testing for and clearing methamphetamine decontamination.
2. Preliminary assessment.
A preliminary assessment will usually be done after law enforcement removes the methamphetamine equipment and materials. This assessment helps with planning for sampling and cleanup—it includes gathering paperwork and surveying the site for contamination, and typically includes both an indoor and outdoor evaluation.
3. Pre-remediation sampling.
Depending on the results of the preliminary assessment, there may be pre-remediation sampling. This helps determine baseline contamination levels and can influence the remediation process.
4. Cleanup plan.
The cleanup plan will provide direction for the decontamination contractor. It is developed from the information gathered in the preliminary assessment and pre-remediation sampling.
5. Removal of contaminated materials.
The contaminated materials are removed according to the cleanup plan. A critical part of this process is proper isolation and disposal of contamination materials.
6. In-depth cleanup process.
The cleanup process typically includes high efficiency air vacuuming, an initial wash of the walls and floors, a thorough cleaning of HVAC systems, and multiple washes with a detergent-water solution.
7. Decontamination measures.
These may include encapsulating any potential hazards with paint, cleaning and/or rebuilding the plumbing, sewer and septic systems, and any required outdoor remediation measures.
8. Post-Remediation sampling.
Post-remediation sampling is done to ensure that the contamination has been successfully remediated and that the hazard is completely removed. The California Department of Toxic Substances and Control, DTSC, in conjunction with the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), has developed a health-based cleanup number of 1.5 ug/100 square centimeters for homes identified as the location of former methamphetamine labs. Proper sampling and analysis is imperative to ensure all areas of the home meet this standard.
9. Final report.
This report provides an outline of steps taken by the decontamination contractor and certifies that the results meet state remediation standards.
During all these steps, having safety in mind is critical. Experienced contractors will follow worker safety and health regulations, and carefully document their work.
If you believe that you’re in need of a methamphetamine contamination assessment, please call or email Guzi-West. We serve customers like you all across northern California with inspections and consultations related to asbestos, lead-based paint, mold, methamphetamine, and sewage cleanup. Our team of highly-trained experts will ensure that your decontamination project is handled professionally. Contact us today!