In the 1990s, meth manufacturing was largely undertaken in rural locales. In this day and age, meth labs are still found in more rural areas but they are now commonly operated in urban and suburban areas. With these points noted, there remain a significant number of instances each year in which meth is manufactured at a location served by a septic system as opposed to being connected to a municipal sewage system. When a meth lab has been operated at a property with a septic system, there are some unique considerations that need to be borne in mind when it comes to the meth decontamination process

As an aside, there are a number of points that need to be considered when it comes to a meth lab and a property connected to a sewage system. These points will also be addressed in this article.

Obtain Documentation From Local Wastewater Company or Local Health Department

As part of the preliminary review of a site suspected to be contaminated by methamphetamine, a meth decontamination company needs to obtain documentation from the local wastewater entity or local health department regarding the type of sewage system at the suspect property. A determination needs to be made as to whether a property is served by a municipal sewage system or a septic system. It’s advisable to obtain written documentation of the system specs to ensure that a clear understanding of the sewage system is obtained. In addition, this written documentation needs to be maintained in the comprehensive records gathered for the meth decontamination job.

Meth Decontamination and Contaminants of Concern in Sewage Systems

There are a variety of harmful chemicals that can be used in the meth-making process. With alarming regularity, these harmful chemicals can end up being unceremoniously dumped into a sewage system in place at a property or into a septic system at a property being used as a meth lab.

While there’s nothing “great” about these chemicals washing away in the sewer system to a waste treatment plant, the danger of these discarded chemicals becomes more profound if they are permitted to collect or amass in a septic system.

Some meth manufacturing processes call for the use of mercury. Mercury is a highly hazardous substance. Exposure to mercury can have significantly negative and even fatal health consequences. Meth permitted to accumulate in a septic system can prove to create a significant danger at the location of what once was being used as a meth lab.

Decontamination and Plumbing Inlets of a Municipal Sewer System

At first blush, a person might conclude that if a property is served by a municipal sewage system, any waste associated with meth contamination washes away from the premises. Meth-related waste becomes highly diluted in the sewer system. The waste associated with meth-making ends up treated in a sewage treatment plant. 

While all of that is true to a point, the reality is that what technically are known as plumbing inlets can end up dangerously contaminated with meth residue as well as the dangerous chemicals associated with making meth. Examples of what technically are known as plumping inlets are:

  • Sinks
  • Drains
  • Bathtubs
  • Toilets
  • Showers

The bottom line is that any plumbing element in a property designed to play a role in eliminating waste from a property can end up contaminated with meth. Indeed, plumbing inlet contamination can occur if a sewage system is connected to a municipal system or a septic tank.

Decontamination and a Septic System

If a septic system is at the location of a site thought to be a former meth lab, more than just swabs need to be taken in the premises themselves. The contents of the septic system themselves must be tested for the presence of dangerous chemicals associated with the meth-making process. 

If there is a suggestion that mercury was used in the meth-making process undertaken at a particular property, specialized testing must be undertaken to determine if mercury is detectable at the premises, including in a septic tank. 

Some meth decontamination specialists may have the background in testing for the presence of mercury, including in a septic system. There are also testing specialists that are in business specifically to ascertain whether some sort of mercury contamination exists at a particular location, including somewhere in a septic system. Professionals are adept are performing reliable testing for the presence of mercury in waste contained in a septic tank.

As an aside, when it comes to overall meth decontamination, the remediation of mercury spilt at the premises, including in a septic tank, definitely can demand the methamphetamine remediation companies that have a specific background in eliminating a mercury issue at a business, home, or some other location. Not all decontaminations specialists have this type of specialized background.