Decontamination Details

When to Test for Meth
Acceptable Testing
Decontamination Process
Decontamination Specialists
Decontamination Standards
List of Contaminated Properties

When should I test my property for meth? What tests are accepted? How do I start the decontamination process? Who can decontaminate my property? What does the decontamination process entail?

These questions are only some of the questions that may come up when dealing with meth and your property. The following section attempts to answer most of these questions.

When to Test For Meth

It is recommended to test for meth before all property transactions.

Signs that a property warrants further testing include:

  • A large amount of cold tablet containers that list Ephedrine or Pseudoephedrine as ingredients.
  • Jars containing clear liquid with a white or red colored solid on the bottom.
  • Jars labeled as containing iodine or dark shiny metallic purple crystals inside of jars.
  • Jars labeled as containing Red Phosphorus or a fine dark red or purple powder.
  • Coffee filters containing a white pasty substance, a dark red sludge, or small amounts of shiny white crystals.
  • Bottles labeled as containing Sulfuric, Muriatic or Hydrochloric Acid.
  • Bottles or jars with rubber tubing attached.
  • Glass cookware or frying pans containing a powdery residue.
  • An unusually large number of cans of Camp Fuel, paint thinner, acetone, starter fluid, Lye, and drain cleaners containing Sulfuric Acid or bottles containing Muriatic Acid.
  • Large amounts of lithium batteries, especially ones that have been stripped.
  • Soft silver or gray metallic ribbon (in chunk form) stored in oil or Kerosene.
  • Propane tanks with fittings that have turned blue.
  • Occupants of residence going outside to smoke.
  • Strong smell of urine, or unusual chemical smells like ether, ammonia or acetone.

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Acceptable Testing

In order for a health department to accept test results, the test must be performed by a Certified Decontamination Specialist. Many companies, home inspectors, home building supply stores, and other entities offer meth test kits. These may be useful as a screening tool, but are not an acceptable method of indicating levels of methamphetamine residue in a property. Be sure to check with the health department that is over your county for additional specifics.

Decontamination Process

Meth decontamination is regulated by State Rule (392-600), and by local ordinances set forth by each local health department. Before beginning the decontamination process, it is recommended to contact your local health department. Although the specific process may differ for each local health department, the general process outlined by the State Rule 392-600 is as follows:

1. Once a property has been confirmed by law enforcement as a meth lab, the property is placed on the local health department's "Contaminated Properties List"

2. Certified Decontamination Specialists, or the owner of record, must do a Preliminary Assessment of the property.

3. A work plan detailing what and how the decontamination work will be done is submitted and reviewed by the local health department by the owner of record, or the decontamination specialist.

4. After the Work Plan is followed and completed, confirmation sampling, by a Certified Decontamination Specialist, must have results that fall within the State's decontamination standard.

5. After the confirmation sampling has been completed, a Final Report must be completed and turned into the health department.

6. Once the local health deparment has been reviewed, the property will be removed from the local health department's "Contaminated Properties List".

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Decontamination Specialists

In Utah, there are Certified Decontamination Specialists who have been certified by the Department of Enviornmental Quality (DEQ) to test homes for methamphetamine contamination and clean up homes that have been contaminated.

For a list of certified individuals and companies, click HERE.

Prices among Certified Decontamination Specialist vary, so it is recommended to obtain bids from several before beginning the process.

A Certified Deconatmination Specialist must meet the following requirements:

  • Pass a written examination
  • Health and Safety Training (to meet OSHA requirements)
  • Pay application fee

To learn more about becoming a Certified Decontamination Specialist click here

Several local health departments require using a Certified Decontamination Specialists for both testing and remediation. Make sure to check with your local health department before beginning the clean up process.

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Decontamination Standards

Under the current State Rule 392-600, when a property has been identified as a lab, has had police activity or tests above the current state standard, decontamination is required. The current current standard for decontamination is 1.0 µg/100cm² (micrograms per 100 centimeters squared). This standard became effective through a change in the rule on December 22, 2009.

About half of the states in the United States have regulations regarding meth decontamination. To see how Utah compares to other states, click here.

List of Contaminated Properties

Homes that have been identified as a meth lab and reported by the police are required to be placed on a list of contaminated properties. Each local health department maintains the list of contaminated properties for their area. As soon as the property has been properly remediated, it is removed from the list.

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