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Meth Lab Post-Remediation Sampling U.S. EPA Voluntary Guidelines for Methamphetamine Laboratory Cleanup 3.14 FLORIDA STATEWIDE METHAMPHETAMINE Guideline
The purpose of post-remediation sampling is to show that cleanup effectively reduced contamination and, thus, the potential for exposure. Post-remediation sampling can also verify that cleaning was actually completed and that previously contaminated areas were cleaned to applicable standards. If post-remediation samples return results that exceed standards, the site should be cleaned again. In some cases, when portions of the site or structure cannot be cleaned, owners may consider encapsulation or removal if allowed by the oversight agency.
Because the selection of sampling sites greatly influences the results of post-remediation sampling, having an independent third-party conduct the sampling may be appropriate and is a requirement in some states. Areas that were involved directly with meth manufacturing activities should always be sampled after cleanup. Post remediation sampling may not be required in areas where contamination was deemed to be light, and where adjacent sampling showed no residual contamination. Typically, post-remediation sampling requires more samples than pre-remediation sampling.
U.S. EPA Guidelines for Methamphetamine Laboratory Cleanup
The production and use of methamphetamine (meth) across the United States continues to pose considerable challenges to our nation. Meth is easy to make, is highly addictive and its production and use can have serious impacts on both human health and the environment.
Despite a decline in domestic production of meth in recent years, vigilance is warranted not only because of the destructive nature of meth itself, but also due to the signifi cant environmental hazards meth laboratories (labs) generate.
In December 2007, the Methamphetamine Remediation Research Act (Public Law 110-143) was passed, which directed EPA to establish voluntary guidelines for the remediation of former meth labs based on the best currently available scientific knowledge.
This document, in addition to new research, will serve to meet both the Synthetic Strategy’s and the Methamphetamine Remediation Research Act’s goals of improving “our national understanding of identifying the point at which former methamphetamine laboratories become clean enough to inhabit again.”1
Due to the variety of chemicals that could potentially be used to manufacture meth, it can be time consuming and prohibitively expensive to sample for all of them. In addition, many of the chemicals used in the manufacturing process are already present in most homes.
[In cases where the manufacturing method is known to employ chemicals that present unique hazards (such as a Phenyl-2-Propanone (P2P) lab), testing for individual components of manufacture may be warranted.]
With this in mind, meth is often used as an indicator for the effectiveness of cleanup activities.
This is based on the following assumptions:
Bulk chemicals will be removed during the gross removal;
Furniture, appliances or building materials with obvious stains (i.e., contamination) will be discarded;
Many of the other potential contaminants are volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and will tend to volatilize before and/or during cleanup; and
The activities needed to clean up a structure to meet the applicable state standard for meth should be sufficient to reduce concentrations of other potentially hazardous chemicals as well.
Current state standards range from 0.05 μg/100 cm2 to 0.5 μg/100 cm2. The most common standard is set at 0.1 μg/100 cm2.
3.1 Overview of Remediation Sequence
Secure the property to prevent unauthorized entry. The structure should not be reoccupied until after remediation is complete.
Hire a contractor to ensure these steps are completed correctly.
Ventilate or “air out” the structure with fresh, outdoor air [e.g., open doors and windows; use fans, blowers, and/or a negative air unit with a high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtration system]. Continue ventilation during the remediation process.
Ensure worker safety and health.
Perform a preliminary assessment.
Conduct an off-site evaluation using relevant documentation.
Conduct an on-site evaluation.
Assess the need for pre-remediation and post-remediation samples.
Conduct pre-remediation sampling, if applicable.
Develop a work plan using information from the preliminary assessment. This should include a waste disposal plan.
Remove contaminated materials. Any materials or objects that will be disposed of should be discarded before cleanup begins.
Complete a “once over” or precursory washing of the walls and floors to cut heavy concentrations of contamination.
Clean and seal the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system. Do not run this system again until all other cleanup is complete.
Flush plumbing traps, unless waste water from the detergent-water washing process will be flushed through the plumbing system. In this case, wait to flush plumbing until all waste water has been flushed.
Vacuum using a vacuum with a HEPA filter.
Use a detergent-water solution to wash ceilings, walls, floors, non-porous furniture and other items that will be kept.
Conduct post-remediation sampling, if applicable. (Ensure structure/items are completely dry before sampling.)
Encapsulate washed ceilings, walls and floors once they meet remediation standards.
Ventilate the structure once more after indoor cleanup is complete.
Perform outdoor remediation activities.
Secure the property once more to prevent unauthorized entry.
Develop a final report.
Meth Lab Dangers - What Every Property Owner & Renter Should Know
Most of the methamphetamine abused in this country comes from foreign or domestic super-labs, although it can also be made in small, illegal laboratories, where its production endangers the people in the labs, neighbors, and the environment.
These small laboratories have been found in everything from hotel rooms and recreational vehicles to apartments and suburban homes. During the illegal production of meth, properties will often become contaminated with hazardous chemicals. These laboratories also pose a strong risk of fire or explosion.
It is essential that any property that was formally used as a meth laboratory be tested and remediated by qualified environmental professionals.
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