Draft meth standard released

Wednesday 14 December 2016

Clarification on the testing and remediation of meth contaminated properties is inching closer with the release of the draft new standard for comment.

By Miriam Bell

Meth contamination of rental properties has emerged as landlords’ biggest concern over the course of 2016.

Their concerns have been heightened by the current lack of clear guidelines on meth contamination levels, as well as testing and clean-up requirements.

Uncertainty grew further following the release of a Ministry of Health funded report.

The report recommended that different levels should be used to assess properties where meth has been used and properties where the drug has been manufactured.

It also suggested that the existing levels used to determine meth contamination were too high for situations where the drug has been used rather than manufactured.

Since then, landlords have been in limbo, waiting for clarification on the issue which the NZ Property Investors Federation has described as “a grenade being thrown around, threatening to blow up our investments”.

But now, after months in the making, the Standards NZ committee charged with developing a new meth testing and remediation standard has released their draft for public comment.

The draft standard provides guidance on practices and procedures to ensure a consistent approach to the testing and decontamination of meth contaminated properties and their contents.

It contains two possible options for clean-up levels.

The first option proposes three levels of decontamination that meth contaminated properties should be cleaned to depending on whether the property was used for manufacturing meth or whether it was used for meth use only and, in this case, whether carpets are removed.

This option is based on adopting, unmodified, the three levels of decontamination recommended earlier this year by the Ministry of Health report.

The second option proposes an alternative approach of applying one level of clean-up, irrespective of the source of methamphetamine contamination.

This option has international precedence for meth lab levels and is said to reduce uncertainty when deciding which levels to apply to a property contaminated with methamphetamine.

The draft standard is aimed at meth testing and decontamination companies, laboratories that analyse samples taken from meth contaminated properties, health, safety, and environmental regulators, as well as property owners, managers, and insurers.

The NZPIF said that, after spending considerable time and resources addressing the issue this year, it was pleasing to see positive movements in the area.

Local Government New Zealand president Lawrence Yule also welcomed the draft standard. He said a new, consistent standard is needed to ensure all parties are working towards the same goal and with firm guidelines.

Meanwhile, Standards NZ is seeking feedback on the draft standard and said the committee will consider all comments before the final standard is developed.

The draft standard on the testing and decontamination of meth contaminated properties can be read and submitted on here. Feedback must be submitted by 20 February 2017.

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