Best Professional Cleanup Practices When Illegal Drug Contamination is Present - Alliance
October 11, 2021

Best Professional Cleanup Practices When Illegal Drug Contamination is Present

Written by Alliance Environmental

Trauma cleanup specialists can also handle the cleanup after bio-hazardous materials and illegal drug labs. Here are some of the best practices and why you should contact professionals to help in these situations.

When people think about trauma and biohazard cleanup, they often think of awful situations involving the recently deceased. While these situations need to be dealt with inefficient and respectful ways, trauma cleanup experts can help after another type of problem as well: the discovery of an illegal drug lab or operation.

More and more, unwitting landlords are discovering their properties have been turned into drug labs. The most common today is a production space for crystal methamphetamine, commonly called a “meth lab.” Of course, other illegal drug operations besides meth exist and, in every instance, professionals who understand how to make a space safe after criminal activity need to be called in. But what precisely do those professionals do?

Today, we walk through some of the best practices trauma cleanup specialists use when dealing with an illegal drug lab.

The First Step is Always Safety

While there is a lot of technical expertise required to clean up a meth lab, the first thing professionals do is also one of the most important, and one that should always be left to them. That is, properly assessing the safety of space.

Drug operations are unsafe spaces. From dangerous substances to the potential of major structural damage following a raid or fire, every space needs to be made safe before work can begin. That starts with an inspection by the pros.

A trauma clean-up expert will go through a space and assess what needs to happen in order to make it safe again, including any specialized work that needs to happen at the outset to remove combustible materials, biohazardous waste such as blood, and other immediate threats.

Ventilation

Usually, this involves opening all available windows and doors and using giant fans to clear the air inside a space. Since meth and fentanyl commonly use very dangerous chemicals, it’s essential a space be properly ventilated and aired out before people move in to clean. Further steps may need to be taken to contain or vent the airspace, such as the use of negative air machines, procedures to deal with mold, etc.

Disposal

Once the space has been made safe, it’s time to take out the trash. With what’s inside the space, however, you can’t exactly put it in garbage bags and take it to the curb. Instead, the drugs and any related materials need to be properly removed and disposed of in a safe manner.

While there is no federal standard for how to remove these products, the EPA recommends contacting local solid waste authorities to ensure all waste is removed properly. Since much of the potential materials in a meth lab can be odorless, colorless, and exceptionally dangerous to people and the environment, they need to be taken care of with the utmost caution.

It goes without saying that full PPE is needed – these are not materials to be touched, inhaled, or allowed to contact the bare skin.

Initial Washing and HVAC

Once everything that needs to be removed has gone, the initial cleaning begins. This starts with an intense vacuuming with a HEPA-filtered commercial vacuum to suck up dirt, potential stray pieces, fire waste (if applicable), and anything else. This is followed by a sanitation spray or fog, if required, to clean smaller and hard-to-reach spaces.

Since meth labs, in particular, create a lot of fumes and noxious gases, the HVAC system needs to be thoroughly cleaned to ensure these hazardous materials won’t negatively impact the indoor air quality.
Clearing out the HVAC system is complicated and requires specialized skills and equipment, including elaborate snakes similar to what plumbers use in pipes. These devices ensure all the dust and grime are dislodged in the system and properly removed. From there, the materials are disposed of and the HVAC system can begin to run normally again.

Detergent Cleaning

After the HVAC system is cleaned and the space is thoroughly vacuumed and sprayed, the detergent cleaning can begin. This step is where the elbow grease really comes out. Every surface is given a deep scrubbing with specialized commercial cleaning products to completely remove all traces of dangerous chemicals, dust, dirt, grime, and anything else. It is during this phase that space will being to look like its old self again as years of abuse are scrubbed away.

This phase is often completed more than once, with an initial detergent cleaning being followed by a rinsing phase and another detergent cleaning phase. This is done until the space is completely cleaned.

Sampling

After a space has been thoroughly cleaned, it’s time to prove the space is safe and properly remediated. This is done through sampling. Every county and state has different requirements for sampling but the best trauma cleanup experts always offer sampling services to prove the work has been done right. Sampling can often be handled in-house, but some trauma cleanup experts use independent labs to gather and test samples for any potential continued contamination.
Renovation

After the space has been completely cleaned and deemed safe for people to enter, many property owners then look to the future. This means they either think of renovations to do to make the space different from before or they start repurposing it for whatever’s next. Whatever their choice, trauma cleanup experts can help with any concerns about safety or potential dangers involved with the current space.

Conclusion

If you own a property that has been the home of a meth lab or similar drug activity, then you need to call in experts who understand how to safely clean up after the criminal activity. Only dedicated and specialized cleaners with trauma and biohazard experience understand the situation clearly enough to properly remediate the space.

Dedicated trauma cleanup experts understand and follow industry best practices while adhering to local guidelines to keep you, the space, and the community safe. They understand every step of the cleanup process, from initial safety assessments and materials disposal to cleaning and renovation work. If you own a space that was used for drug production, then make sure you call in the experts to get the space safe and working again in a timely manner.

Alliance Environmental Group has a dedicated biohazard and trauma cleanup division that is highly skilled and trained at performing illegal drug decontamination and meth lab clean up. For peace of mind and professional experience, contact Alliance Environmental!

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