Meth Lab Mitigation Process

Clandestine Lab Cleanup

As the Methamphetamine crisis continues to be more omnipresent, the clean up of this illicit drug continues to grow more complex. These infamous drug labs can be set up in almost any type of setting, such as hotels, private residences, mobile trailers and commercial buildings. Due to the complexity of where these clandestine labs can be located, there are many factors to take into consideration. The hazards presented to humans range from the time law enforcement begins their tactile operations, exposure to children during the clandestine lab seizure and environmental concerns due to the dumping of the by-products on or in soil, floors, bath tubs, sinks and toilets.

When approaching a clandestine site, professionals are aware that each site cannot be treated the same. Therefore, the Guidelines for the Cleanup of Clandestine Laboratories, 2005 Edition, allows for different scenarios throughout the publication. This publication is intended to assist state and local agencies to facilitate their own unique clandestine drug lab cleanup program.

Each state has their own requirements, however the basic remediation steps include: ventilation, indoor air quality, plumbing, chemical spills, porous items/materials, porous materials, disposal, structural cleaning, area segregation, HVAC cleaning, encapsulation, septic, outdoors, and final ventilation. Here is a quick synopsis on some of the steps.

Ventilate structure before, during and after the remediation process.

Monitor Indoor Air Quality before and after the process utilizing Photo Ionization Detector (PID).

  1. Access the HVAC system early in remediation process.
  2. Neutralize area where there is suspicion of chemical spills.
  3. Remove items within the contaminated area because these contents are contaminated. Depending on the items deems what the outcome should be.
  4. All structural areas must be cleaned. Typically completing a double wash with hot water and detergent should be sufficient.
  5. Keeping in mind other contaminants may be involved, such as asbestos and referring to state guidelines is always suggested.
  6. Contaminated drywall must be removed.  This especially true of drywall in basement where meth was processed.
  7. Ceilings, walls, floors, and woodwork must be encapsulated with polyurethane or paint to isolate any remaining contaminants.
  8. Septic areas must be checked with a PID. Insure that Personal Protective Equipment is worn at this time.
  9. Known contaminated sinks, bathtubs and toilets must be removed.

When the Mitigation is complete, Clearance testing process should be performed.