Clandestine drug laboratory (clan lab) detections in Western Australia (WA) have increased substantially in recent years. Chemicals used in these laboratories and resulting waste or residues can be toxic and harmful to human health. Therefore a framework to assist agencies and local governments to effectively manage any risks to public health associated with these sites is important. There have been guidelines developed by the Department of Health with major contribution from several partner agencies responsible for responding to clan lab drug laboratory detections. These include the Department of Environment, WA Police, ChemCentre of WA, Local Governments and the Department of Housing.
These guidelines include a preliminary assessment being carried out. The information from the preliminary assessment and pre-remediation sampling (if conducted) is used to develop the clean-up plan. The specialist Kleenit technicians will respond immediately to this situation and formulate an action plan to remediate the site in accordance with the Health Department guidelines.
The Kleenit technician will describe the clean-up methods to be used, including:
– a list of the items to be removed from the structure;
– a list of all surfaces or items to be cleaned on-site
– procedures for cleaning
– areas to be encapsulated
– locations and procedures for on-site decontamination and a containment plans for the clean-up to prevent off-site contamination.
The Kleenit technician will also document pre-remediation (if applicable) and post-
remediation (if applicable) sampling methods, including where and how many samples will be collected and the remediation standards that will be used. Once a post-remediation walk-through and final report to document the effectiveness of the clean-up has been developed, the clean-up plan is accepted by the property owner.
After gross removal has occurred and the structure has been ventilated for a minimum of 24 hours, Kleenit technicians will properly discard all materials that are to be removed as per the clean-up plan. Any visibly stained, odour-emitting or damaged materials should be discarded and a decision whether to clean or discard other items on a case-by-case basis is made.
Although there is no single determinant that can be used to decide which items should be discarded and which items can be cleaned and kept, Kleenit technicians follow strict criteria during the decision-making process:
Contaminated items with a high potential for human contact are discarded more readily than items with a low potential for human contact. Extra care is taken when deciding whether to discard items that children are likely to come into contact with (e.g., toys) as children may be especially vulnerable to environmental toxins.