Remediation of Illicit Drug Contamination

The type of contamination or damage to a property will vary with the associated illicit drug activity, as will the remediation process to make the property habitable again.

If remediation does not occur, occupants may be exposed to dangerous levels of chemical residues or safety hazards. Under the Health Miscellaneous Act 1911 a local government authority may require or recommend that a property owner remediate their property. Consumer protection legislation also imposes requirements on owners and agents with regard to the habitability of rental properties or those for sale.

Owner and agent obligations in regard to contamination properties are outlined in illegal drug activity in homes: managing risk (PDF 256KB).

Clandestine Laboratory Remediation

Drug manufacture usually generates greater and more widespread contamination and consequently a more sophisticated and thorough clean-up process. Unless there is evidence indicating a clan lab, any suspected or known low-level meth contamination should be assumed to be from smoking meth.

The main guidance on clandestine laboratory (clan labs) remediation is provided in guidelines for notification and risk management after detection of a clandestine drug laboratory (PDF 256KB). Other providers may be unqualified and/or do unsatisfactory work. If the local government authority is involved in the clean-up it may require that these approved service providers to be used.

Smoke House Remediation

This contamination is usually associated with smoking crystal methamphetamine (meth, ice). Residue levels are normally far lower than that associated with the drug manufacture and therefore warrant a lower degree of remediation. The clean-up process is outlined in the interim guide for remediation of low level illicit drug contamination (PDF 256KB). A service provider from the qualified providers list mentioned above is recommended.

Cannabis Grow House Repair

Although a house or structure used for large scale cannabis plant cultivation can result in chemical contamination, an occupants health risk primarily relates to safety issues associated with compromised structural integrity or mould infestation. The process of dealing with the safety issues will normally address any chemical residue at the same time. The Department of Health has  developed guidance on risks associated with cannabis grow houses for a local government authority use.

More information

Environmental Health Directorate
Phone: (08) 9222 2000

Last reviewed: 05-07-2021
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Environmental Health Directorate