Welcome to our Frequently Asked Questions. If you don’t see your question below, feel free to give us a call at (801) 888-6698.
- 1 FAQ
- 1.1 My House Might Be Contaminated With Meth. What Should I Do?
- 1.2 I’m Buying a House. Do I Need to Test It for Meth?
- 1.3 A Potential Buyer Tested My Newly Remodeled Home and Found Meth. What Are My Options?
- 1.4 Who Can Complete Meth Testing?
- 1.5 How Do I Read the Meth Test Lab Report and What Does It Mean?
- 1.6 What Are the Utah State Regulations and Requirements for Meth Cleanup?
- 1.7 My House Tested Positive for Meth. What Are My Options?
- 1.8 My Rental Property Tested Positive for Meth. What Are My Options?
- 1.9 How Long Does Decontamination Take and What Are the Steps?
- 1.10 How Much Does It Cost to Decontaminate a Meth House?
- 1.11 My Property Needs to Be Decontaminated. What Stays and What Goes?
- 1.12 Do Residents Need to Leave the Property During Decontamination?
- 1.13 Is Methamphetamine Contamination Covered by Insurance?
- 1.14 What Are Disclosure Requirements When Selling My Home?
- 1.15 Can Meth Use in One Apartment Contaminate Others?
My House Might Be Contaminated With Meth. What Should I Do?
Proper testing is the only way to know the status of a home. As such, we recommend testing any time you buy or sell a property. You may also want to test when moving into a new rental or if you’ve noticed the symptoms of meth exposure. (If you’re concerned your house is making you sick, please don’t forget to consult your physician). Finally, you should test anytime you suspect someone brought meth onto your property. To schedule your test, call us at (801) 888-6698.
I’m Buying a House. Do I Need to Test It for Meth?
The short answer is yes. Utah was once notorious for the amount of meth produced here – and it still has one of the highest arrest rates for possession and distribution. Additionally, meth has a long half-life, so many houses were contaminated before the current owners purchased them. As a result, many non-users unknowingly live in contaminated houses, exposing them to undue risk.
It is also sadly common for friends, acquaintances, or even family members to use meth on the property without the owner’s knowledge.
As you can see, you shouldn’t assume a property is clean based on appearances. This is why we recommend testing every time you buy or sell a house. If you’re still not sure whether or not to test, feel free to call us at (801) 888-6698. We’ll help you sort out your next step.
A Potential Buyer Tested My Newly Remodeled Home and Found Meth. What Are My Options?
Once meth is found, you have a few options.
1. Demolition. This is often the least cost-effective strategy.
2. Retest: If the levels are low, you may wish to verify the findings. If the levels are high, testing again may still be a good idea as it may narrow down the contaminated areas.
3. Decontaminate: If the levels are high, you may opt to move forward with decontamination. This will allow you to put your money into the decontamination process rather than further testing. To learn more, visit our blogs. Or, feel free to call with any questions at (801) 888-6698.
In Utah, anyone can purchase a kit and test their home. However, it’s easy to make mistakes and miss areas of potential contamination. To ensure the accuracy of your results, you may want to hire someone with proper training.
Furthermore, you should know that the Utah Department of Health only accepts results collected by a Certified Decontamination Specialist. This is to ensure proper reporting and compliance with state regulations. Criminal cases and legal disputes may have similar requirements.
There are many reasons to test, and your needs will define what kind of professional to hire. Call us at (801) 888-6698. Our Certified Decontamination Specialists will point you in the right direction.
This answer is rather lengthy and detailed. You are always welcome to call us at (801) 888-6698 to discuss your specific results.
Reading your lab’s report depends on the type of test. The vast majority are composite samples, meaning the swabs are transported and tested together. However, some tests keep swabs separate, so that each area produces its own reading.
Most of the reports that come across our desks are from ALS Global, so we’ve based this information on that format. If your lab’s reporting style is different (or you’re having trouble reading it), feel free to call us or seek the help of a Certified Decontamination Specialist in your state.
Typical Testing Parameters
1- “Sampling Parameter: Area.”
This refers to the tested area. Testers take swabs from various sections in a property with areas of 100cm². If the Sampling Parameter Area is 300cm², then the test consists of three areas.
This is the total amount of meth found in the sample. However, this number does not indicate contamination on its own. To estimate how much meth is present throughout the property, the lab averages this number over the areas tested.
This number is the “μg/sample” divided by the “Sampling Parameter.” It indicates the concentration of contamination across all tested areas. If this number is greater than 1.0/100cm², then the state of Utah considers the property contaminated at unsafe levels. Property owners are then responsible for decontamination. However, a μg/sample reading over 1.0 may still indicate an issue that needs to be addressed. (You can always call us at (801) 888-6698 with any questions about interpreting your test results).
4- “RL μg/sample.”
This is the reporting limit of the lab (or how much meth they can detect). In most cases, it will be .10. That means any results less than .10 are non-detectable. It’s important to note that there may still be meth below the non-detectable level. However, these readings fall far below Utah’s decontamination standard and the known estimates of reference dosing. (You can find more information about state standards and reference dosing in our blogs).
If you’re still confused about what your results mean or what you should do, you can either call the laboratory that performed your test or a Certified Decontamination Specialist. If you’re in Utah, give us a call at (801) 888-6698.
What Are the Utah State Regulations and Requirements for Meth Cleanup?
Each state sets its own threshold for methamphetamine contamination. Legislators define these limits by exploring various health concerns, financial burdens to homeowners, public risk, and other such factors. The state of Utah requires properties test at or below 1.0µg/100cm² (one-millionth of a gram of meth per one hundred square centimeters). If the results are higher than 1.0µg/100cm², owners must begin decontamination or demolition. To find your state standards check with your local health department. If you’re in Utah, you can call us at (801) 888-6698.
My House Tested Positive for Meth. What Are My Options?
Answering this question depends on the type of test performed, the person who collected the samples, and your location. If it was an instant test, you’ll want to have a professional retest your home. (Depending on your circumstances, it may be best to seek out a Certified Decontamination Specialist). Then, depending on the results (and where you live), you may need to decontaminate.
It’s important to note that a house can test positive for meth but still fall below state standards (meaning meth is present, but decontamination isn’t automatically necessary). You’ll need to check your area’s regulations to determine what’s required. However, some still choose to decontaminate to a non-detect standard, (regardless of the state’s threshold) when circumstances justify.
If your house tests above the state limit, it will require action. You should call a Certified Decontamination Specialist as soon as possible. You’ll be glad you started sooner rather than later. If you’re in Utah, we’re here to help. You can reach us at (801) 888-6698.
My Rental Property Tested Positive for Meth. What Are My Options?
Whether dealing with your personal property or a rental, the first step is proper testing. That means having someone with proper training conduct a NIOSH compliant test. Once you are confident in your results, then you will need to know your state requirements. This information will help you identify your next step.
Rental owners will also want to know that in the state of Utah, the owner is responsible for ensuring proper decontamination takes place, regardless of who introduced meth into the environment. If you’re not sure of your results or would like a free consultation, call us at (801) 888-6698.
How Long Does Decontamination Take and What Are the Steps?
Most properties take about two weeks to decontaminate. First, we create a work plan and submit it to the local health department for a permit. Then, once the permit is received, the decontamination process can begin. Depending on the size of the house, that can take anywhere from a few days to a week. After decontamination, we can post-test the property. Sometimes this step requires the presence of a health inspector. This confirms that we have effectively decontaminated the property in compliance with the state’s threshold (or your individual goals). The laboratory can take up to five business days to process results. After that, a Final Report is submitted to the health department for review. A clearance meeting with the health department may be necessary.
Of course, your local protocols may vary, so check with your local health department to learn more. If you’re in Utah, give us a call, and we can discuss your situation and time frames, (801) 888-6698.
How Much Does It Cost to Decontaminate a Meth House?
Decontamination costs depend on several factors. These include the size of the decontamination area, concentration of methamphetamine, whether or not we need to include garages or outbuildings, debris, and additional items requiring hazardous disposal. You should have this information ready before a Certified Decontamination Specialist can calculate your estimated expenses. For a free estimate in the state of Utah, please call (801) 888-6698. To read more on this topic visit our blogs.
My Property Needs to Be Decontaminated. What Stays and What Goes?
In general, you should expect to dispose of all porous materials. Examples of these items include carpet, carpet pads, some ceiling tiles, insulated or flex ductwork, and exposed insulation. Hard objects can undergo decontamination with better success. This includes sheetrock, subfloors, hard surface flooring, doors, cabinets, countertops, metal ductwork, furnaces, etc.
You may be able to clean and keep some precious and personal items. However, most find it makes more financial sense to replace their possessions rather than test, clean, and retest every item. Be prepared that some items can’t be decontaminated.
To schedule a time for us to come and look at your property and talk about your options, call (801) 888-6698.
Do Residents Need to Leave the Property During Decontamination?
Yes. Meth is a dangerous substance. If your property tests above state limits, it will be closed to reentry. To clarify, the state of Utah only allows Certified Decontamination Specialists or a property’s owner of record (not the owner of record’s spouse, child, friend, helper, contractor, agent, etc.) to enter a contaminated property. Even then, entry requires an active work plan. Full access is not re-opened until after post testing and the review of the Final Report. Call us with any questions at (801) 888-6698.
Is Methamphetamine Contamination Covered by Insurance?
Calling your insurance company is often one of the first steps, but meth contamination isn’t usually covered. However, vandalism and/or smoke damage might be. Be persistent and know your policy. To receive a quote or begin your consultation, give us a call at (801) 888-6698.
What Are Disclosure Requirements When Selling My Home?
A real estate attorney is the best person to answer this question. It may also vary from state to state. However, it’s our understanding that (in Utah) you must disclose methamphetamine contamination. Similarly, you must disclose if the property stored meth, or if anyone manufactured meth on the vicinity. (See Title 57 of the Disclosure of Methamphetamine Contaminated Property Act for more information).
Furthermore, the Utah Association of Realtors includes a specific section for methamphetamine in their Utah Seller’s Property Condition Disclosure form (20.C). It reads as follows: “To your knowledge, is the Property currently contaminated from the use, storing or manufacturing of methamphetamines?” This is a legally binding contract, and should be part of buying or selling any Utah home.
That being said, once we have completed decontamination, and the health department clears the property, it is no longer contaminated. As such, owners may opt not to disclose previous methamphetamine contamination. Even so, we believe honesty is always the best policy. So you may still want to provide the full history to your buyers, including the entire Final Report with photos, sketches, test results, and explanations.
In that scenario, you’ll be glad to have the guarantee of a reputable decontamination company. Incidentally, we do guarantee all of our work, and we’d be happy to help with your decontamination project. Call us at (801) 888-6698.
Can Meth Use in One Apartment Contaminate Others?
Usually, the answer is no. However, if the units share a heating system (or any other method of air circulation), then testing them all may be wise. For more answers concerning testing in the state of Utah, call us at (801) 888-6698.