There are only two reasonable responses to methamphetamine contamination: clean it up and demolition. Now, that being said, there’s no need to call Wile E Coyote just yet. You see, it’s totally possible to remove meth from your home. And, in many cases, it’s even the more affordable option.
For those ready to decontaminate, Utah law offers you a choice. You may either hire a certified decontamination specialist or attempt the process on your own. However, in the second scenario, the owner must do the work themselves. To clarify, you can’t ask friends, family members, or neighbors to help. (Sorry, no guilting your brother-in-law into this one). The reasoning here is fairly simple. There are several risks involved in removing meth. You (as the owner) can choose to take whatever chances you deem reasonable. However, without the proper training and certifications, you can’t extend those risks to others.
As you may suspect, taking on a project like this is a lot for any one person. But, if you still want to move forward on your own, then we want to prepare you with all the information you’ll need.
What to Expect During Decontamination
Decontamination begins with accurate testing. After that, you’ll need to file a work-plan with your local health department. Work-plans are specific and detailed. They must include photos, floor-plan sketches, and most are about 20 pages long. (Check out this link to see SLC County’s how-to pages).
Next comes what we call ‘the trash-out.’ At this point, you must remove all porous materials. That means carpets, drapes, some tiles, and more. Most personal items will have to go as well, large and small. You may find this step challenging to do alone, so please plan accordingly.
Once the house is clear of debris, you can start treating the surfaces with water and detergent. (State law requires you do at least three treatments. But it may require more if the level of contamination is high). Expect to scrub walls, floors, ceilings, counters, and so forth.
Additionally, you’ll probably need to treat your HVAC system since meth often resides inside heaters and air ducts. Please note that cross-contamination can undo a lot of this work. So you’ll want to use clean materials on each surface (including fresh detergent and water).
Once all is said and done, you’ll need a certified decontamination specialist to test the property again. If the results fall below state limits, your specialist can submit a final report, and the house is considered clean.
Things to Consider
As you might expect, decontamination can expose workers to hazardous chemicals, drug paraphernalia, and risky working environments. Simply put, you’ll want to make sure you have the right safety gear. (This includes respirators, masks, gloves, and hazmat coveralls. You’ll have to wear these at all times).
We typically complete this process in two weeks. However, it usually takes longer for owners. For instance, we once helped a customer obtain his permit and cleaned his HVAC system. The rest of the process took him a year to complete.
Another of our customers finished in a month. However, the final report didn’t pass state requirements. This cost them an additional $600.00 after re-testing and continued clean up.
In addition to the risks and time required, you’ll want to keep one more thing in mind. During each of these steps, you must follow the same regulations as a certified decontamination specialist. Now, that’s a topic on its own, so feel free to check out our blogs or view the Utah Administrative Code (R392-600).
To Sum It Up
As you can see, that’s a lot to do on a project like this. That’s why most folks decide to seek out a professional decontamination company. Most people don’t have months and years to rescue their homes from meth. And many cannot manage the physical strain on their own.
That brings up the question of cost. Many wonder, at this point, if saving money justifies these other challenges. The short answer is always – it depends. And, unfortunately, it’s one you’ll have to answer for yourself. However, we don’t want to leave you without any information, so we’ll be covering that topic next week. Make sure to keep your eye out for that post. In the meantime, we’re here to answer any questions at 801-888-6698.
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