Remediation of Illicit Drug Contamination

The type of contamination or damage to a property will vary with the associated illicit drug activity, as will the remediation process to make the property habitable again.

If remediation does not occur, occupants may be exposed to dangerous levels of chemical residues or safety hazards. Under the Health Miscellaneous Act 1911 a local government authority may require or recommend that a property owner remediate their property. Consumer protection legislation also imposes requirements on owners and agents in regard to the habitability of rental properties or those for sale.

Owner and agent obligations in regard to contamination properties are outlined in illegal drug activity in homes: managing risk (PDF 256KB).

Clandestine Laboratory Remediation

Drug manufacture usually generates greater and more widespread contamination and consequently a more sophisticated and thorough clean-up process.

The main guidance on clandestine laboratory (clan labs) remediation is provided in guidelines for notification and risk management after detection of a clandestine drug laboratory (PDF 256KB). Among other useful information, this document provides a list of companies approved by the Department of Health that are qualified for testing and remediating chemical residues (PDF 350KB). If the local government authority is involved in the clean-up it may require that these approved service providers to be used.

Smoke House Remediation

This contamination is most usually associated with smoking crystal methamphetamine (meth, ice). Residue levels are normally far lower than associated with the drug’s manufacture and therefore warrant a lower degree of remediation. The clean-up process is outlined in the interim guide for remediation of low level illicit drug contamination (PDF 256KB). A service provider from the list mentioned above is recommended.

Cannabis Grow House Repair

Although use of a house or structure for large scale cannabis plant cultivation can result in chemical contamination, risks to potential occupants relate primarily to safety issues associated with compromised structural integrity or mould proliferation. The process of dealing with the safety issues will normally address and chemical residue at the same time. The Department of Health provides advice for remediating grow houses on the Health WA website repairing the damage of a cannabis grow house.  The Department of Health has also developed guidance on risks associated with cannabis grow houses for local government authority use.