Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Meth house remediation is expensive, specialized

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OKANOGAN – Making a residence contaminated by residues from methamphetamine use safe for re-occupancy is not only costly, but it also requires specially trained personnel to do the job.

That is the conclusion recognized by the Board of Okanogan County Commissioners earlier this month after allotting up to $20,000 to pay for work done at one of the units in the Caribou Trail Apartments. The apartment building serves as a bridge between homelessness and a more permanent voucher program or self-sufficiency.

A unit required remediation after it was discovered that an individual living there – since evicted – used meth.

Nancy Nash Mendez, Executive Director of the Housing Authority of Okanogan County, addressed the BOCC on July 3 to request the money from the state’s Homeless Housing Assistance Act funds.

“The unit was ‘hot’,” said Mendez. “We worked with the Health Department. The remediation work was done.”

Mendez presented the board with an invoice for $16,000.

“Now the apartment is ready for rehab at a total estimated cost of close to $20,000.” Mendez said.

Statistics compiled about meth remediation in living spaces show that every pound of cooked meth results in five pounds of poisonous waste. Studies show that left untreated meth residue can remain in materials for five years or more.

Commissioner Jon Neal noticed that the abatement contractor hired was from Bellingham and inquired if there was one more local.

Mendez replied that the companies qualified to do that type of work are scarce. An internet search turned up three such companies, two on the west side and one in Spokane.

“There are very few companies licensed to do this job,” said Mendez. “One is in Spokane, but he was too busy. We went out for bids.”

Commissioner Andy Hover received unanimous approval for his motion to grant the requested funds.

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