Last time on the blog we talked about how meth is made and the labs that people use to ‘cook’ the substance. Made of many different, dangerous chemicals these labs leave the home and other structures used as labs in unlivable conditions. So how do we handle meth lab cleanups?
It’s important to note that depending on how the property comes to us changes the process we may take. If the property is suspected to have been a meth lab by the homeowners versus if the homeowner has received an order issued pursuant to Section 25400.22 that property owned by that person is contaminated by a methamphetamine laboratory activity, the approach will differ due to the necessity to follow the city submission documents.
The BIOClean Team has worked with multiple city code enforcement divisions and is familiar with the submission of preliminary site assessment work plans to the local health officers, and this deep insight informs our procedures to make sure everything is handled exactly as it needs to.
Meth Lab Cleanup
Plan and Prep
First, we work with our trusted environmental hygienist to determine pre-remediation levels of all possible contaminants. With this in mind, we can begin the planning stage.
We then develop a site plan, risk assessment, and containment procedural plan. Having a plan is a necessary step to ensure that the meth lab cleanup goes is completed to the highest standards and in the proper processes. With a plan in hand, we can execute!
We open all areas to air, using short-term ventilation protocol prior to clean up procedures to decrease toxic fumes that are present during cleanup.
With the ventilation coming in it’s time to set up containment and air quality control measures. This means setting up HEPA filtration fans, getting ventilation blowers in place, and turning the home’s HVAC system off and sealing it. The HVAC system can be an avenue for the fumes and chemical residue to spread throughout the home so we need to seal it to keep things from getting any worse.
Now that ventilation and air control measures are in place, it’s time to go through and begin removing things. Affected equipment, supplies, contaminated items, hypodermic needles, any porous items that may have absorbed toxic chemicals are sealed and removed. Highly toxic materials will be disposed of as hazardous material disposal following all transport and disposal regulations.
After the removal of the equipment, debris, it’s time to go deeper with absorbent material removal. Carpet, drapes, and clothing all can absorb chemical fumes, dust, or powders involved in the manufacturing process.
It is generally less expensive to remove all suspect items than take samples and have them analyzed, however, we will work with the client regarding these items and create a plan for remediation that is safe and considers all options.
After everything has been removed, HEPA vacuuming of all particulate (all surface areas) is done. Then encapsulation cleaning using EPA registered environmental residue wash specific for the encapsulation of chemical rescue; all surface areas, and multiple techniques are used in higher concentration areas.
If a surface has visible contamination or staining, complete removal and replacement of that surface is recommended. This could include removal and replacement of appliances, plumbing fixtures, wallboard, floor coverings, and countertops.
Once the removal and cleaning has been done it’s time for post-remediation sampling and clearance tests. When everything gets the ok, a Certificate of Treatment is issued for liability reduction to the property owner.
While there is no method of cleaning that will guarantee “complete” safety, the procedures followed by The BIOClean Technicians are best practice and follow EPA guidelines and state regulations for disposal and reducing exposures to the toxic chemicals used in methamphetamine manufacturing. Evidenced by clearance testing and certificates of treatment, the property owner can reduce his or her liability in this unfortunate situation. There are also a few things to keep in mind post
Post Meth Lab Cleanup Considerations
The BIOClean Team will have sealed the HVAC vents and cleaned the ducts using a qualified HVAC company. Air filters will be replaced. It is suggested to retest the HVAC after service has been restored. If chemicals are persistent in the ducts after a thorough cleaning and filter, you may need further cleaning and / or duct replacement.
In many properties, waste products generated during illegal drug manufacturing are dumped down sinks, drains and toilets. These products can collect in drains, traps and septic tanks and give off fumes.
The BIOClean Team can help you vet an experienced plumbing contractor to flush waste traps or pull waste water dependent on the system you have.
Drywall, Appliances Replacement
Any items removed due to damage or contamination should be replaced. Appliances, counters, drywall, flooring all may be subject to removal in this process.
The BIOClean Team can assist in a plan for order of repair and replacement, and vet subcontractors if needed.
After any interior surfaces are cleaned, cleared, and all drywall has been replaced/ patched an experienced painter should be enlisted. Wall surfaces should be repainted with oil-based paint, epoxy, or polyurethane primer followed by an additional coat of paint. Painting helps to provide a barrier between the previously contaminated surfaces and anyone who may come in contact with the surface.The BIOClean Team can help you vet an experienced painter who understands the importance and types of paints to be used in this scenario.
**We do not get “referral fees” for subcontractor services. Our MAIN goal is to assist you in this process and make it as seamless as possible. We understand you are going through a tragic situation and need as MUCH support as possible. If you are dealing with a meth lab remediation situation, you give us a call and we’ll work with you to see it through. We will be with you every step of the way, even AFTER our services are complete.