Delaware County, Indiana

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Meth Labs

Meth Labs

Methamphetamine is a drug that can be easily created in a house, garage, motel room or vehicle.  The problem is the "cooking" of meth causes environmental contamination that can affect our health.  The structures are uninhabitable until they are decontaminated.  The process to test and clean can be expensive.

The Delaware  County Department of Health is tasked with ensuring structures where operational meth labs were identified are decontaminated before they are re-inhabited.  In 2007, Title 318 IAC 1 was enacted to provide the cleanup and notification rules.  The law enforcement agency that closes the meth lab is to notify the local health and fire departments about the location.  The local health departments then are to work with the property owners to have the affected structures and vehicles decontaminated. 

HELPFUL INFORMATION

CLEANING FORMER DRUG LABS*

My property was a drug lab, now what?

  • DO NOT ENTER OR WORK in/on the property until all safety hazards have been identified. 
  • Contact the Vector Control & Environmental Services Division at 260 449-7459 to find out the steps to make your property safe again. 
  • You will be required to clean up your property.

What do I have to do?

  • You must clean up your property before you reoccupy it; allow anyone else to occupy it; or sell it. 
  • Failure to clean your property leaves you open to liability for injury to others from exposure to dangerous chemicals. 
  • The Indiana Department of Child Services cannot return children to your property until it has been cleaned up.

Who can clean my property?

  • You must use an IDEM-certified cleanup contractor to clean the property and certify it has been properly cleaned.
  • IDEM listed contractors ("Qualified Inspectors") have the training, experience, and equipment to clean the property safely and cost-effectively.
  • IDEM lists certified cleanup contractors on its website at:  http://www.in.gov/idem/4184.htm.

What will the cleanup contractor do?

  • An initial assessment, which may include testing, to determine the level of contamination and what cleanup procedures need to be done.
  • Work with you to determine the best and most cost-effective way to clean the property.
  • Clean the property or supervise the cleanup to ensure it meets all requirements.
  • Properly dispose of all waste from the cleanup.
  • Test the property, once cleanup is complete, to confirm it meets the State's cleanup level.
  • Give you a "Certificate of Decontamination" that certifies the property has been properly cleaned.

Can I do the work myself?

  • Generally, no because there may be existing conditions that require specific safety precautions.
  • IDEM cleanup contractors understand the safety risks of working in former drug labs and will do everything they can to keep you safe.  Follow the contractor's safety advice!
  • Talk to your cleanup contractor.  They may allow you to do some of the work under their supervision.
  • If the contractor agrees to let you do some work, follow all of the instructions you are given!
  • DO NOT do any cleanup without first talking to your cleanup contractor; some work you do can complicate the cleanup or interfere with the testing.
  • NOTE:  Contractors will not certify work they did not do themselves or have agreed for you to do under their supervision.

What does clean mean?

  • The approved cleanup level for controlled substances in Indiana is 0.5 g/100 cm.
  • Once the cleanup of the property is complete, the certified contractor will test the property using standard sampling procedures and laboratory analysis.
  • Cleanups involving removal of potentially-contaminated materials (tear-outs) may not require testing.

Who pays for the testing?

  • Property owners are responsible for all cleanup costs.
  • Check with your insurance carriers to see if they will cover some or all of the costs.

What cleanup method can I use?

  • Cleanup methods depend upon the level of contamination.  Some mehtods are ineffective or very expensive if the property is heavily contaminated.
  • In some cases, where there is very little or no contamination, the property can be cleared after testing.
  • The most common cleanup methods are painting or sealing all interior surfaces; washing all interior surfaces; and/or, removing all potentially-contaminated materials.
  • Some property owners have found tearing out the interior and rebuilding it is more cost-effective than washing.  Washing often must be repeated to be effective; rebuilt properties often may be certified clean without testing.
  • Cleanups can be very expensive, and some properties are much more difficult to clean than others.  If your property has a low value and is heavily contaminated or difficult to clean, it may be more cost-effective to demolish the structure.

*Adapted from IDEM's Brochure on "Cleaning Former Drug Labs"