Meth clean-up costs are coming down

Published 8:33 pm Wednesday, December 10, 2008

By Staff
KALAMAZOO – Area properties contaminated by methamphetamine are being cleaned and returned to productive use more quickly and at less expense than originally expected.
"When the explosion of meth use started a few years ago, many people, particularly landlords, feared the cost and effort to clean meth-contaminated properties would be overwhelming.
"Instead, experience has shown that these properties can be cleaned economically," says Christine Rogers, methamphetamine coordinator in the Kalamazoo County Health and Community Services Department.
One major reason for the declining cleaning cost is the use of a special foam cleaning product for some applications.
The foam is marketed by the names MDF-500 or Crystal Clean, that bind to both methamphetamine and meth byproducts.
Foam breaks down contaminants to their molecular level.
According to Rogers, the use of specific foam products is more cost-effective because it uses less labor and decreases the time needed to clean, while achieving desired cleaning standards.
The cost to clean a typical, small home or apartment, including the initial and follow-up testing by an environmental consultant, ranges from approximately $800 to $5,000, depending on the severity of contamination and the extent of contracted services, estimated Rogers.
Cleaning typically involves washing walls, ceiling and other hard surfaces, as well as removing carpeting and cleaning air ducts and other HVAC components.
Kalamazoo County started regulating the clean-up of meth-contaminated homes in 2006.
Since that time, 88 percent of the 315 meth-contaminated properties have been cleared of meth contamination.
Kalamazoo County is one of only a handful of authorities statewide that are attempting to address the clean up of meth-contaminated properties.
Rogers advises residents to contact public safety if they suspect meth chemicals have affected a property.
Classic signs of meth use on a property include pop bottles, muriatic acid, lye, lithium batteries, Coleman-brand fuel, tree spikes, coffee filters and matches, which are typically used during meth production.
Rogers notes rental properties are the most challenging due to the turnover and chance that a new tenant may be unknowingly exposed to meth chemicals used by a previous tenant.
"Our community can take comfort that as meth-contaminated sites are found, the properties will return to safe and productive use," said Rogers.