In March, 2007, the Arkansas General Assembly enacted
Act 864 of 2007
(Senate Bill 829) to protect property owners whose properties
have been contaminated through the illegal manufacture of controlled substances
and to create a certification program for individuals who choose to undertake the
inspection, sampling, remediation, and removal of contaminated materials from such
former clandestine laboratories. Act 864 additionally requires that ADEQ be notified
after a clandestine laboratory has been discovered and that ADEQ maintain a
contaminated by the illegal manufacture of controlled substances.
As of May 1, 2008, any person who is contracted to
remediate a clandestine laboratory must meet the qualifications of a
Laboratory Remediation Contractor as outlined in
APC&E Regulation No. 32.
- Q. What happens after a meth lab is discovered?
- A. When a meth lab is discovered, the local law enforcement agency is responsible
for making any arrests and seizing the lab. Evidence is removed from the site, and
chemical hazard consultants are brought in by law enforcement to remove containers
of hazardous chemicals related to the operation of the meth lab, but not needed
as evidence. Law enforcement may call child protective services if children are
Law enforcement officials will also place a Notice of
Removal placard on the premises, warning that an illegal clandestine laboratory
was found and removed from the property, and the property is quarantined until it
has been investigated for residual contamination and, if necessary, remediated by
a certified Clandestine Laboratory Remediation Contractor. It is illegal
for anyone other than the property owner, his or her certified cleanup contractor,
law enforcement officers, or ADEQ inspectors to enter or occupy the premises until
such investigation and cleanup has been completed.
Following their investigation, law enforcement officers will complete and submit the El Paso
Information Center (EPIC) report form and provide a copy to the Arkansas Crime Information
Center (ACIC). ACIC will in turn provide appropriate portions of the EPIC report
to the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality. Upon receipt of this report,
ADEQ will list the property on its web-based List of Methamphetamine-Contaminated
- Q. A Notice of Removal has been placed on my property saying that a meth lab was found there. What do I do next?
- A. You should not remove any furniture, appliances, or personal belongings from
the premises until they have been tested for contamination and found to be clean.
Otherwise, you may spread the contamination and expose others to health risks, as
well as making the scope and cost of any required cleanup greater than it already
The next step is to contact one of the certified
Clandestine Laboratory Remediation Contractors to have the property assessed
for any remaining meth contamination. If meth contamination is found (> 0.05
µg/100cm˛), the contaminated areas must be cleaned up in accordance with the
Clandestine Laboratory Remediation Cleanup Standards. A certified Clandestine
Laboratory Remediation Contractor must perform this
work. Upon completion of the cleanup, the Contractor will sample the property again,
then prepare, and submit a final report to ADEQ. Upon approval of the final cleanup
report, ADEQ will prepare a letter of No Further Action and provide it to the property
owner, his or her cleanup contractor, and the local law enforcement agency, and
remove the property from the List of Contaminated Properties pursuant to the provisions
of A.C.A. 8-7-1404 and 8-7-1406(b).
- Q. Does ADEQ provide inspectors to come and test my property for meth or other controlled substance contamination?
- A. No. You should contact one of the
commercial contractors who are
certified to sample and clean up clandestine drug labs.
- Q. If I am the property owner, can I continue to live in the house before it has been cleaned up?
- A. No. The reason for placing the Notice of Removal and quarantining the property
is that it is presumed that a human health risk exists due to meth contamination,
and the premises are unsuitable for human habitation until they have been tested
and found to be free of contamination. The property owner and his or her cleanup
contractor may enter the premises for the purposes of investigating any potential
contamination and cleanup, but no one may live in the premises until they have been
determined to be free of meth contamination. Per the Arkansas Code, § 8-7-1405(7)(D)
and (E), it is a crime (Class B misdemeanor) to enter to re-occupy a meth-contaminated
property, or to remove or disturb the Notice of Removal posted on the property prior
to ADEQ certifying that the property has been properly decontaminated.
- Q. How do I get my property off the list?
- A. ADEQ will remove a property from the List of Methamphetamine-Contaminated
Properties upon the receipt, review, and approval of a final cleanup report received
from a certified Clandestine Laboratory Remediation Contractor demonstrating that
the property has been tested and cleaned up in accordance with the Arkansas Clandestine
Laboratory Remediation Standards. Upon approval of such a report, the report will
be placed on the ADEQ web site for ten (10) days, after which the report will be
removed, the property removed from the contaminated property list, and all records
of the property destroyed pursuant to the provisions of A.C.A. 8-7-1404 and 8-7-1406(b).
- Q. Cleanup of my property is too expensive... Can I simply tear it down or burn it down to get it removed from the list of contaminated properties?
- A. Properties deemed too cost prohibitive to clean up may be razed. A certified
Clandestine Laboratory Remediation Contractor still must be used to process the
required paperwork confirming the appropriate handling of all the demolition debris.
Demolition by burning may entail the additional approval of local fire authorities,
code enforcement agencies, and the ADEQ Air Division.
- Q. Are there any funds or grants to help with cleanup expenses?
- A. No. There are currently no public funds available for the cleanup of private
meth-contaminated properties. While meth-contaminated properties are eligible under
the Arkansas Brownfields Program, these cleanups involve a transfer of the property
to new ownership and redevelopment in a manner beneficial to the local community,
and the typical meth cleanup would not qualify as a brownfields site.
METH CLEANUP CONTRACTORS
- Q. What qualifications do I need to have in order to do Clandestine Laboratory Remediation projects in Arkansas?
- A. As of May 1, 2008, you must meet the qualifications
for a “Certified Clandestine Laboratory Remediation Contractor” as set out at APC&EC
Regulation No. 32. This is a state requirement for all parties who intend to conduct
clandestine laboratory remediation projects.
- Q. Are there continuing education requirements associated with certification under Reg. No. 32?
- A. Yes. Certified Clandestine Laboratory Remediation Contractors seeking biennial
renewal of their certificate shall annually conduct and maintain documentation for,
the successful completion of at least 8 hours of OSHA HAZWOPER refresher training
as prescribed by 29 CFR1910.120 (e); and at least 8 hours of additional training
related to clandestine laboratory investigation or remediation.
- Q. What are the cleanup levels associated with the remediation of a clandestine laboratory?
- A. Cleanup levels and sampling criteria are outlined in the
Clandestine Laboratory Remediation Cleanup Standards.
- Q. Are the new cleanup standards applicable to remediation projects completed prior to May 1, 2008?
- A. No. Only remediation projects reported after May 1, 2008 will have to meet
the clandestine laboratory remediation cleanup standards.
Property owners of a clandestine laboratory which was found prior to May 1, 2008, and wish to obtain
a certificate of completed cleanup or letter of no further action required from
the Department may enroll their site in the program and complete remediation pursuant
to the cleanup guidelines in order to receive such a certificate.
- Q. I lost my copy of the No Further Action letter stating that my property had been cleaned up and approved for re-occupation. Can I get another copy of the letter from ADEQ?
- A. Probably not. A.C.A. § 8-7-406(b) requires that once a meth-contaminated property
has been properly clean up and removed from the list of meth-contaminated properties,
ADEQ is required to destroy all copies of information related to that property and
its cleanup, including our file copies of the cleanup letter. If your request comes
in later than 10 calendar days after the cleanup letter has been mailed, we will
no longer have any records of that property or its cleanup. Don’t lose that letter!