Meth Lab Remediation Process
The Clan lab residual comes to rest on a surface and will:
- Adhere to the surface;
- Be adsorbed onto it; or
- Be absorbed into it.
The adhesion, adsorption and absorption behavior of substrate material determines the remediation strategy to select to deal with methamphetamine contamination. In order to determine the level of contamination and the area to be remediated it is recommended (as per Guidelines), to establish and conduct a pre remediation swab sampling program of the property by a qualified Clandestine Drug Lab Testing Technician (Moisture Control Services [MCS] is qualified).
MCS seeks information from our client as to the location of the lab provided by police, based upon this information and inspection of premises a pre-remediation sampling program will be formulated and swabs taken. This will normally include at least one swab per room and are sent to a NATA accredited laboratory for analyses.
Australian Government Clandestine Drug Laboratory Remediation Guidelines1 stipulates that swabs taken consist of sampling a 10cm by 10cm square area (100cm2) which is numbered with the swab used. If the pre-remediation sampling comes back with a room(s) or area(s) that is above acceptable guidelines (methylamphetamine at a level of greater than 0.5 micrograms (ug) per 100cm2 is consider unacceptable) such areas would require decontamination by MCS. Based upon this information MCS will develop a Remediation Action Plan (RAP - detailed scope of works and OH&S matters included) which clearly stipulates what areas are to be remediated, the process to adopt and OH&S issues. From this a quote to complete this work will be provided to our client.
At the completion of the remediation process post sampling takes place and these results will validate that the premises have been successfully treated and it is safe to re-inhabit the property. On rare occasion a room or area may require a second treatment before complete clearance is obtained.
Other situation with this type of work is the need to dispose of remaining contents since it is assumed they are contaminated and normally of little value. Also we incur properties where the power has been disconnected and in cases like this we use our portable generator which is hired out against the job.
Drug Lab Legislation
In Australia currently there is no legislation regarding compulsory remediation of these properties. Clan lab remediation should be the responsibility of the environmental health department of the local council of the area in which the lab is detected. Ideally, once the police detect a lab they contact the local environmental health officer, whose responsibility it is to contact the land owner / property manager, place a cleansing order on the property and make sure that no one inhabits the property until it has been properly remediated and deemed fit/safe to reside. However, at the moment this is a highly contested issue.
Australian Government in April 2011 produced the “Clandestine Drug Laboratory Remediation Guidelines”. The guidelines cover the time from when police detect a clan lab and right through until the point that the environmental health officer gives confirmation for re-habitation of the property. Since these are guidelines they are not enforceable to enact by any authority.
Sampling area can vary from 10cm by 10cm to 30cm by 30cm in size. Each area is pre-numbered.