Burlington Tackles Meth Clean-Up Ordinance - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Burlington Tackles Meth Clean-Up Ordinance


Ever wonder how much meth residue is inside the property your renting? If there was ever meth manufactured in your home or apartment, you may never know, because Iowa doesn't have standards in place for testing or clean-up.

But the City of Burlington is setting it's own standards after police raided a home meth lab there a few months. And property owners are eager for the new city regulations.

Drug enforcement officers raided a property on Marshall St. back in April. Inside they found a meth lab. The landlord for that home, Ron Brozene, didn't know what to do next.

"We went to the city to ask what to do and the inspections department had to do some research on it," Brozene said. "The solutions run the gamut from tearing the house down to basically doing nothing."

Iowa, like many other states, has no regulations regarding proper clean-up procedures after meth has been manufactured inside a property.

"There are no standards," said Brozene. "Some states require a HAZMAT team to come in, other states don't." So he had to improvise.

"We've torn everything out. This house was paneled, we took all the paneling out. The air conditioner, the heating units, the stove, the refrigerator."

When it's all said and done, Brozene expects to spend close to $15,000 on clean up. But now the city of Burlington is standardizing the process for landlords.

Part of the new ordinance -- a property must be tested after a meth lab is found inside of it.

"If it hasn't been tested, you really don't know," said Brozene. "Because if somebody was making meth in some other house, but they didn't get caught, there's been no tests, so how do you know?"

Also new, the city will require a property to be cleaned if .1 mcg/100 cm2 of meth residue is found inside. Think of it as a small packet of sugar spread out over ten football fields.

"We're talking about very minute amounts."

Another new part of the ordinance -- letting a new tenant know that the place they plan to live in was once a meth lab.

"For every one pound of meth they cook, they create seven pounds of hazardous waste," said Bill Tyrrell, owner of Triage Bio Clean Services.

Drano, battery acid, pseudo ephedrine, anhydrous ammonia -- you'd want to know if those things were in your house.

"Those things all make people sick and when you mix them all together, they have a tendency to make people very sick," Tyrrell said.

Brozene is happy to finally have some guidance from the city on the issue. Although he says this is the first time he's been aware of a meth lab on one of his properties--

"Probably 95 percent of the residents are good people who do what they should. We get the occasional person who creates a problem and you just have to deal with it, it's part of the business," he said.