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Indiana Department of Environmental Management

Community Environmental Health

IDEM Environmental Health > Cleanup and Inspection of Illegal Drug Labs Cleanup and Inspection of Illegal Drug Labs

Last updated on June 9, 2016

Current Events

Local Health Department Meth Conference:

The conference provides an opportunity for the local health departments and other local and county employees who might encounter a meth-related property to share information and ideas, to meet with the Indiana State Police, and to hear from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management and Department of Health. This is a free event.

Health and Hazards

Health effects caused by exposure to illegal drug lab chemicals depend upon three (3) factors: the lab process and the chemicals used to manufacture, the amount of chemicals used and length of exposure, and the age and health of the person exposed. There are at least four (4) ways to be exposed to illegal drug lab residue: unintended injection, inhalation, ingestion or absorption through the skin. Possible chronic health effects from exposure to illegal drug lab residue include disorientation, respiratory irritability, behavioral changes, neurological, kidney and liver damage, burns to the skin, eyes and mouth and, in severe exposure, death.

Even after removal of the illicit laboratory equipment and chemicals, residual amounts of chemicals and byproducts may persist on interior surfaces and furnishings. Do not enter the property until the local health department [PDF] and/or a qualified inspector has determined it is safe to re-enter.

Failure to clean an illegal drug related property may leave the property owner open to liability for injury to others from exposure to dangerous chemicals.

How Indiana Responds to Illegal Drug Labs

  • When an illegal drug lab is discovered, it is reported to a certified local law enforcement agency or the Indiana State Police Methamphetamine Suppression Section who are trained and equipped to safely enter and dismantle the lab.
  • The law enforcement agency terminates, dismantles, removes and properly disposes of the lab contents. They do not remove residual contamination from or decontaminate the property in which the lab was located.
  • The Methamphetamine Suppression Section, or other law enforcement agency that terminates the drug lab, sends a written report, called an Occurrence Report, to the Drug Enforcement Section of the Indiana State Police, the local health department, the city, township, or county fire department, and, if children were present, the Department of Child Services.
  • The Department of Child Services ensures that any children involved receive proper care under the Indiana Drug Endangered Children Response Protocol [PDF].
  • The local health department issues an abatement order that prohibits occupancy of the property until it has been properly decontaminated and is no longer hazardous to occupy.
  • The property owner must then hire an IDEM qualified inspector to test and decontaminate the property and certify that it has been decontaminated to the final level of < 0.5 µg/100 cm2.

Rules for Inspection and Cleanup of Property

Title 318, Article 1. Inspection and Cleanup of Property Contaminated with Chemicals Used in the Illegal Manufacture of a Controlled Substance [PDF]

  • Apply to multiple types of drug labs including methamphetamine, amphetamine, ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, methcathenon, LSD, MDMA, PCP and GHB.
  • Require owners of contaminated property that was used for illegal drug manufacture to clean up the property before continuing to occupy, use, reoccupy, or sell the property.
  • Offer decontamination of the property or removal of all potentially contaminated material, demolition of a structure, disposal of a vehicle, and destruction and disposal of a watercraft as options to clean up contaminated property.
  • Set criteria for persons to become listed on the qualified inspector list.
  • Set standards for inspection, decontamination, and/or removal of contaminated property.
  • Prescribe methods for sampling and testing the contaminated property.
  • Require the qualified inspector to provide a certificate that shows the property has been properly decontaminated.
  • Establish the duties of a demolition contractor in the event the contaminated property has to be demolished.

Duties of a Qualified Inspector

  • Review the Indiana State Police (ISP) Lab Occurrence Report.
  • If no ISP Report exists, consult with the law enforcement agency that terminated the lab and local health department to determine the types of chemicals used.
  • Conduct initial assessment, using Method 8270C or equivalent method or practice to determine the types and levels of chemicals used and the scope and extent of contamination for the entire structure, HVAC within the structure, areas outside the structure, and the sewage disposal system.
  • Notify, in writing, the local health department, the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH), and IDEM, the date decontamination will be conducted.
  • Supervise decontamination, including septic system and or sewage disposal system.
  • Notify person who pumps septic system of possible hazards.
  • Inspect the property when decontamination is complete or if the initial assessment indicates decontamination is not required.
  • Complete the Certificate of Illegal Drug Lab Cleanup (available on the IDEM Forms page) and send it to the local health department, the State Department of Health, the IDEM, and the owner.
  • Dispose or arrange for disposal of wastes in accordance with 329 IAC 3.1 (hazardous wastes), 327 IAC 7.1 (septic system wastewater), and 329 IAC 10 (all other wastes).

Note: Should you conduct a demolition or supervise a demolition, the Notification of Demolition for Drug Lab Cleanup (available on the IDEM Forms page) should be used to document the demolition and then emailed to druglabcleanup@idem.in.gov.

The List of Qualified Inspectors:

Each individual who has met all of the requirements to become a qualified inspector is listed in Qualified Inspectors for Illegal Drug Lab Cleanups [PDF].

IDEM does not:

  • Endorse any specific company or inspector.
  • Regulate or control fees for testing, cleanup or inspection services.

Reporting Issues with Qualified Inspectors

If you experience issues with a qualified inspector, such a failure to perform duties required by the rule, contact IDEM:

Indiana Department of Environmental Management
Office of Program Support Assistance and Outreach MC 64-02
ATTN: Qualified Inspector Program Director
100 North Senate Avenue
Indianapolis, IN 46204-2251

How to Become a Qualified Inspector

Each qualified inspector must complete and provide documentation of all of the following:

  • At least forty (40) hours of experience cleaning illegal drug labs, or similar work, such as emergency response operations, cleanup or remediation operations, corrective actions, or operations involving hazardous wastes that are regulated under the regulations of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) at 29 CFR 1910.120. Documentation may include timesheets, reports, letters from employers, or notarized affidavits 40 hours of experience.
  • Training for supervisors required by 29 CFR 1910.120(e) (Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response). This training must include 40 hours of training for general site workers and an additional 8 hours of specialized supervisor training. Documentation must include Training certificates signed by the instructor showing completion of the required OSHA training.
  • Training on cleanup of contaminated property provided by IDEM and passing an examination on illegal drug lab cleanup with a score of at least eighty percent (80%).
  • A Certificate of Liability Insurance that reflects the required insurance coverage:
    • Professional liability insurance in the amount of at least one million dollars ($1,000,000).
    • Errors and omissions insurance in the amount of at least one million dollars ($1,000,000) per occurrence.
    • Pollution prevention insurance in the amount of at least three million dollars ($3,000,000).

A person who meets the foregoing criteria and wants to be placed on IDEM’s qualified inspector list may apply to IDEM for listing by completing the Application for Listing as a Qualified Inspector for Drug Lab Cleanup (available on the IDEM Forms page).

Mail, deliver, fax or email the application, along with all supporting documentation to:

Indiana Department of Environmental Management
Office of Program Support Assistance and Outreach MC 64-02
ATTN: Qualified Inspector Program Director
100 North Senate Avenue
Indianapolis, IN 46204-2251

Training for Qualified Inspectors

IDEM conducts training for potential qualified inspectors twice a year. There is no cost for this training which includes:

  • Indiana State Police Meth Suppression Section’s perspective on meth labs in Indiana.
  • Requirements of Indiana's illegal drug lab cleanup rule.
  • Health and safety issues.
  • Sampling and lab analysis procedures.
  • Sampling methods.
  • Local Health Department interaction.
  • Insurance issues for Qualified Inspectors.
  • Waste disposal requirements.
  • Examination.

The next qualified inspector trainings will be held:

  • July 28, 2016
  • January 26, 2016

Training is held at the Indiana Government Center complex starting at 8:00 AM. Following the sessions, there is an opportunity to take the examination for those seeking to become qualified. Those wanting to take the examination should be thoroughly familiar with 318 IAC 1 prior to attending the training. Participants will also be tested over health and safety issues as well as sampling and lab analysis procedures taught during the class.

To register for the training, complete the Student Registration for Illegal Drug Lab Cleanup Training (available on the IDEM Forms page) which may be faxed to (317) 234-8752 or e-mailed to druglabcleanup@idem.in.gov. Applications not received 10 business days in advance of a training date will not be accepted. The size of the classes are limited due to occupancy limits; therefore, it is suggested that you register as early as possible. Due to the high demand for the class, it is appreciated that you notify IDEM if you are unable to attend the class for which you registered.

More Information

Links to external resources are provided as a public service and do not imply endorsement by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.