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Environmental Health Division

OWNER INFORMATION FOR CONDEMNED HOMES

A Meth Bust: What do I do now?
Q & A for Property Owners

Q: What is a "Meth Bust"?
A: A "meth bust" is any property, dwelling, structure, or recreational vehicle that has been identified by a law enforcement agency as a suspected of illegal methamphetamine (meth) activity, or an area where there is evidence of use, storage or production of methamphetamine and/or its components.

Q: Why is my house condemned? Why do I have to vacate?
A: The Kalamazoo County Sanitary Code requires any functional dwelling identified as a meth bust to be shown as safe for habitation. A condemnation placard will be posted on the property until it can be shown that residual meth contamination is at an acceptable limit. Once the sign is posted, it is unlawful for any person to enter the site except by written permission of the Environmental Health Division.

Q: Can I go back onto my property to get personal belongings?
A: You must obtain written permission from the Environmental Health Division to be able to enter the property. This does not apply to law enforcement officers, health officials, or their agents, or the consultant and/or contractor who have been hired to assess or decontaminate the property.

Q: What happens next?
A: You, as the property owner, have two options: hire a qualified consultant to test for meth to see if the property is contaminated or waive the preliminary assessment process and move right to cleanup. To waive the preliminary assessment, a verbal and/or written request is submitted to the Environmental Health Division.

Q: What is a Contractor/Consultant?
A: A Contractor (cleaner) is a company that performs decontamination or cleanup at a specified price.

A Consultant (tester) provides professional advice, performs the testing and writes reports.

Q: Where do I find a Contractor or a Consultant?
A: The Environmental Health Division can provide you with a list that is also available at the website: www.kalcounty.com/EH/consultants-contractors.htm

Q: What is considered safe? What is the County clean-up threshold?
A: The final analytical results of samples must be equal to or below 0.5 g/100 cm of meth in order for condemnation to be lifted.

Q: What are the costs for testing & cleanup?
A: On average for Kalamazoo County, price ranges from $650 to$1000 for pre- or post-testing and between $600 and $5,000 for cleanup, depending on the dwelling type and size. You should compare at least three bids from different contractors and/or consultants.

Q: Will my homeowner's insurance cover the cost of cleanup?
A: It depends on your homeowner's policy. It may be covered if there was a fire involved or there is evidence of smoke damage. Call your insurance agent for more information.

Q: Can I clean the property myself?
A: It is strongly encouraged that you obtain the services of a contractor, but a guide sheet is available. Many hazardous chemicals are involved in the making of meth. Some of the chemicals are flammable and some may cause skin burns.

Q: What can I do with my furniture and personal belongings?
A: Items that can be machine washed or thoroughly cleaned by hand with detergent and water can be saved. If contamination is widespread, it would be better to dispose of items by taking items directly to a dump. Be aware that contaminated belongings remaining inside the dwelling can make it difficult to get passing sample results and will prolong condemnation. Putting items out on the curb for garbage pick-up may result in injuring someone taking those items without knowing it came from a meth bust.

Q: How long is the clean up process?
A: It takes an average of 4 to 6 weeks for clean up and testing.

Q: How long does it take to get condemnation lifted?
A: Once a final report is received and reviewed by the Environmental Health Division, an order to lift condemnation will occur within 7 days and the property can be "re-occupied."

Q: Who is the Health & Community Services Department contact?
A:

Methamphetamine Response Team
Kalamazoo County Health & Community Services Department,
Environmental Health Division
(269) 373-5210 (269) 373-5333 Fax

Checklist

  • Vacate the property and secure doors. Obtain written permission from the Environmental Health Division to enter the property to get belongings. Do not remove or cover the condemnation placard.

  • Hire a consultant to perform preliminary testing to determine areas of contamination and the best method for cleanup OR waive the preliminary assessment by verbal and/or written request to the Environmental Health Division.

  • When testing indicates that the dwelling is contaminated, hire a contractor to perform cleanup. Although it is not recommended, you may attempt to perform cleanup yourself (after obtaining written permission to be at the property).

  • When testing shows that there is no residual contamination above 0.5 ug/100cm2, submit report to the Environmental Health Division requesting lifting of condemnation.

Helpful Links

List of Meth Affected Properties
Owner Remediation Guidelines



The Kalamazoo County Health and Community Services Department programs are open to all without regard to race, sex, color, national origin, religion, height, weight, marital status, political affiliation, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.

Links to external sites do not constitute endorsements by Kalamazoo County.

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