Increasing call for meth testing homes

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A company that provides a prompt, reliable, discreet and confidential service has been set up in Southland and Otago.
Meth Test Southland is owned and operated by Andrea McMillan, of Gore.
Ms McMillan started Meth Test Southland six months ago and said the service had been in demand since.
‘‘The most popular reason that people want a meth test done is when purchasing a new property and also when there’s concerns that it’s been used in the property,’’ she said.
If meth was discovered in the house and it exceeded the New Zealand guidelines, decontamination needed to be carried out.
Meth Test Southland has four specialised trained staff who can provide the service needed.
Ms McMillan looked into meth testing when she started her other company, Workplace Safety Southland.
She discovered a demand for the service and decided to set up a separate company.
The number of homes tested for meth varied for the company but could average up to five to six properties a week.
The biggest demand for testing was when people were doing their due diligence in preparation for buying a property, Ms McMillan said.
Under the New Zealand guidelines, a property is not legally able to be sold once meth has been detected until it has been decontaminated.
‘‘There’s more awareness out there about the importance of testing.
‘‘For the likes of $200 it could save you a potential nightmare,’’ she said.
Depending on the amount of contamination, the cost of meth removal ranged from $3000 to $30,000.
Methamphetamine has been used in New Zealand for 15 years.
Ms McMillan said there were a lot of meth-contaminated properties out there that had not been identified.
The property did not have to have a high level of meth to need decontamination.
Carpets might need to be removed and curtains might need to be changed, depending on the level of contamination, she said.
It also remained in the walls and ceilings as the odourless smoke rose and accumulated.
Ms McMillan is trained under the New Zealand guidelines and has been working with a North Island firm to decontaminate properties.
She said there was not many Southland-based firms that carried out decontamination.
Meth Test Southland made an effort to get to a job within 24 hours for sampling, she said.
It used independent accredited lab Hill Laboratories in Hamilton and once the lab got the results, Meth Test Southland worked with the client to sort out a plan for decontamination.