New standard on the testing and remediation of methamphetamine-contaminated properties – progress update

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The development committee held its fourth meeting on 27 September 2016 in Wellington.

The committee worked through a second working draft of the standard, identifying areas that require further information to be included, or existing information to be clarified or re-ordered to improve the content and flow of the sections to assist users of the standard.

Discussions at this meeting covered in more detail the same issues raised at earlier meetings, but with reference to additional material presented by working groups. Matters raised included:

  1. Setting out procedures to follow depending on whether a property is known to be a methamphetamine laboratory (for example, uncovered by the police), or known or suspected of being contaminated from the recreational use of methamphetamine (for example, smoking).
  2.  Structuring the standard so that it addresses the necessary stages and requirements such as:
  • screening of properties for the presence or absence of methamphetamine contamination
  • validation of onsite screening techniques, and the necessary training required to ensure competency in their use and to minimise uncertainty in the results
  • where there is evidence of contamination, the detailed sampling and testing procedures to follow to determine the extent of contamination
  • assessing whether and to what extent decontamination is necessary to reduce risk of exposure to methamphetamine
  • preparation of decontamination plans to guide any decontamination work required
  • decontamination contractors’ roles and responsibilities, including health and safety responsibilities, and advising of other hazards (such as asbestos) found onsite prior to or during decontamination
  • sampling/testing operators’ roles and responsibilities, including appropriate training and accreditation
  • post-decontamination actions, including issuing ‘clearance certificates’ that certify that properties have been decontaminated to the required level, and that any contaminated waste has been properly disposed of
  • general requirements such as reporting and documenting actions.

Next steps

A working group of the committee has arranged to meet in early October to further develop parts of the draft standard in preparation for its release for public comment in November 2016 for a period of 2 months.

The committee meets again on 1 November 2016. This meeting will:

  • review the latest draft
  • consider the recommendations of an ESR toxicologist, commissioned by the Ministry of Health to review the current Ministry of Health guideline values, to determine whether any changes are needed that will be added to the draft standard
  • decide on the content of the draft standard that will be released for public comment.

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Read the Qs and As on the development of the standard.

Published in building.