⋅Never Attempt Meth Lab Cleanup Yourself⋅
Most of the meth-lab cleanups to which we are called are rental properties. We usually get the call from a bewildered landlord, apartment-complex manager, or motel manager who had no idea what his tenants were doing until the property was swarming with police. Occasionally, we get the call from someone purchasing a property that was a former meth lab or from someone who purchased a former meth house that was improperly cleaned. Before a former meth lab can be safely inhabited, it must be thoroughly and professionally cleaned and decontaminated.
Especially at risk for contamination by the chemicals present in former meth labs are children because they have small, developing bodies and a tendency to touch contaminated surfaces and objects and to put things in their mouths.
Meth labs are commonly set up in homes, apartments, trailers, motel rooms, even automobiles, and the chemicals used to manufacture meth are volatile and lethal. They leave the entire structure and all of its furnishings contaminated long after the chemicals themselves are removed from the premises by law enforcement. That’s because the chemicals permeate the structure itself and all of its furnishings.
According to the EPA, simply smoking meth contaminates a structure and its furnishings.
Under no circumstances should a layman even enter a former meth lab, much less attempt to clean one up.
EPA guidelines state that no one should enter a former meth lab unless the individual has the proper training and the proper PPE (personal protection equipment), which includes filtered respirators. These guidelines are just the beginning of the many reasons why you should never attempt meth lab cleanup yourself.
Why Are Former Meth Labs Dangerous?
Even though law enforcement removes the gross chemicals from a meth lab, every pound of meth that is cooked produces six pounds of toxic waste that the cookers dump into drains and toilets or dump outdoors into the soil or a water source. This waste contains the same lethal chemicals as the drug itself. Additionally, surfaces like floors, walls, countertops, and furniture are contaminated with the lethal chemicals used in making meth.
Approximately 32 chemicals are commonly used to produce meth.
They include battery acid, drain cleaner, engine starter, lithium batteries, anhydrous ammonia, lye, gun-cleaning solvent, gasoline additives, lantern fuel, insecticides, and antifreeze, all of which are corrosive, explosive, flammable, toxic, and possibly radioactive.
Meth labs are also sometimes booby trapped with things like explosives and trip wires.
What Does Advanced Bio Treatment Do?
Advanced Bio Treatment strictly follows the EPA “Voluntary Guidelines for Methamphetamine Laboratory Cleanup” when we remediate a property that was a former meth lab. We also adhere to all OSHA, state, and federal guidelines.
After law enforcement completes its investigation and the gross chemical, we begin the cleanup, which includes all the following:
- Secure the property so that no one can enter until the cleanup is finished.
- Properly ventilate the structure before, during, and after cleanup.
- Perform a preliminary assessment during which we determine
- Primary areas of contamination: Advanced Bio Treatment professionals are experts in identifying contaminated areas that are not always visible.
- Cooking methods used and chemicals found on premises: Cooking methods are crucial in determining what cleaning chemicals to use.
- What can be cleaned and what must be discarded: Not all contaminated items can be brought to a local landfill, and some state guidelines require contaminated items to be wrapped and sealed before removal.
- The extent of contamination to plumbing systems: Meth chemicals are often poured down drains during cooking and remain in the traps of sinks and drains. Meth chemicals aren’t always flushed away. If a plumbing line is low or the chemicals were flushed into a septic system, those chemicals may still be present. In smaller wastewater systems shared by apartments or condominiums, the chemicals may still be present.
- The extent of contamination to HVAC systems: Fumes, dust, and contaminants have most likely collected in vents and duct work. Sometimes duct work cannot be cleaned and has to be replaced.
- If there is any outdoor contamination to the soil and groundwater: If the meth chemicals were dumped outside, the soil and groundwater may be contaminated.
- Remove contaminated materials.
- Vacuum walls, floors, and ceilings using a HEPA-filtered vacuum.
- Complete initial washing of walls, floors, and ceilings.
- Clean and seal HVAC system. The HVAC system should not be turned on until all cleaning is complete.
- Flush plumbing and clean plumbing fixtures.
- Complete second washing of walls, floors, ceilings, and any other non-porous items that will be kept.
Should you ever find yourself in the shocking position of having your property used as a meth lab, for your safety, never attempt meth lab cleanup on your own; please trust the professionals at Advanced Bio Treatment. Protect future inhabitants of your home, protect your investment, and protect yourself. Call Advanced Bio Treatment at 800-295-1684 for a free quote.