Comments Off on Specialist explains what it takes to cleanup Methamphetamine residue

MISSOULA, Mont. – An Arlee Head Start School was shut down after officials found four spots of low levels of meth residue inside the building.

It started after a staff member found an unused glass pipe in the laundry room back in January and nobody knew how it got there. We’re told that 34 children attend the school.

A parent tells us that most of the children are staying home or are in daycare while a cleaning crew goes to work on the building.

We wanted to know what it takes to cleanup meth residue and how crews will make it safe for students to return to the school.

A specialist here in Missoula has done similar work.

Lee Yelin is the President and Owner of Water Rights Incorporated. He’s been doing meth decontamination work since 2005 and says business is booming.

“In the last six months, I have done more jobs than I have done the entire nine years prior,” said Yelin.

It’s a tough job, one that’s labor intensive requiring weeks even up to a month of work for one building.

“We have to apply a degreaser or an oxidizer to the wall, scrub it, rinse ,repeat several times,” said Yelin.

Here’s the cleanup process in a nutshell: Yelin has to submit a sampling plan to the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) which contains how many samples he will take. That can be anywhere from 10 to 20 samples depending on the size of the property. The samples are then tested in a lab and results take a week. After getting the results and if the property needs work, Yelin submits a cleanup plan to the DEQ. Then the process takes place after it’s approved. After all cleaning is completed, a third party will come in to resample and make sure contaminants are gone.

“Remove all the doors, all the kitchen cabinets, all the bathroom cabinets wood trim, wood molding around the windows, any of those items. All appliances must be removed,” said Yelin.

The list goes on. Yelin points out, the work can also be dangerous and requires protective equipment.

“As cleaners, we can come in contact with the meth and can be contaminated ourselves through skin absorption,” said Yelin.

Yelin says it’s important because sometimes used needles could be in the area, a big risk for a blood born disease. The gear requires shoe coverings, gloves, a face respirator and eye protection.

“That’s one of our big hazards is protecting ourselves,” said Yelin.

It’s a job that is far beyond easy, as meth use is back on the rise.

To be clear, Yelin is not the one working on the school in Arlee.

Tribal officials continue to be tight-lipped about the details of their investigation at the school.

However, the deputy director of Head Start in Washington D.C. says they have been in contact with the Arlee Head Start Program and says that the tribe took immediate safety precautions.

For now, it’s unknown when the building will be open again.

Police are investigating who the pipe may have belonged to and all 10 staff members have volunteered to submit drug tests.








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