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Hazelwood Strengthens Law On Cleaning Up Meth Contaminated Housing

Pending a final city council vote, Hazelwood will have law for stringent testing to ensure all hazardous chemicals are no longer present after meth labs are raided, and before a home can be sold or occupied.

In 2012, there have been at least six homes in the City of Hazelwood declared unfit to be sold, or for occupancy, due to in home methamphetamine (meth) manufacturing, according to Patrick McSheehy, Hazelwood's code administrator.

But the city, which currently has laws regarding dangerous buildings due to meth contamination, hopes to strengthen those laws by adding another component.

If a dwelling is declared meth contaminated, the property owner on top of properly cleaning the building will have to have a professional certified to test for methamphetamine remnants inspect the home.

"If we find a home that is used in the manufacturing of methamphetamine, which is extremely dangerous, we now have a specific process for the property owner to have it tested by a licensed professional," said Hazelwood's city manager Edwin Carlstrom.

Carlstrom said doing so will enable code enforcement, police and firefighters, all the departments involved with breaking up meth labs, more footing when dealing with the situations.

The ordinance is drafted from a St. Louis County law, according to Carlstrom, and still needs a final vote on Wednesday before it is amended as part of Hazelwood's law.

Hazelwood is also amending it's code regarding synthetic marijuana.

Here’s a checklist of common signs of meth manufacturing inside and outside a house:

  • Strong smell of urine, or unusual chemical odors like ether, ammonia or acetone.
  • Windows blacked-out, traffic at odd hours, people going outside to smoke.
  • Signs of chemical burns and spills - dark red phosphorous stains in the sinks, toilets or bathtubs, or red staining on the interior walls, counter tops and flooring.
  • Visible areas in the yard where chemicals have been dumped, or burn pits with chemical container remains, dead or dying vegetation.
  • Packaging or containers from large quantities of cold medicines.
  • Jars containing clear liquid with a white or red-colored solid on the bottom, jars with shiny metallic purple crystals inside, bottles or jars with rubber tubing attached.
  • Glass cookware or frying pans containing a powdery residue.
  • Coffee filters unused and used with red stains, white paste or small amounts of shiny white crystals in them.
  • Soft silver or gray metallic ribbon (in chunk form) stored in oil or Kerosene.
  • Propane tanks with fittings that have turned blue or green.
  • Excessive trash with large amounts of the following: alcohol, benzene, toluene/paint thinner, Freon, acetone, chloroform, camp stove fuel, starter fluid, anti-freeze, anhydrous ammonia, Heet, white gasoline, phenyl-2-propane, etc.

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