April 20, 2018

Why Mansions Become Meth Labs

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Why Mansions Become Meth Labs

Although many were surprised by a meth-lab bust at a townhouse in the swanky community of Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., in January, Wally Conway of HomePro Inspections didn't bat an eye.

Conway says meth producers are more likely to choose vacant properties in high-end enclaves, because they are less likely to get caught there than in high-crime areas. And when it comes to cleanup, he says the area's desirability plays a major role in whether a tainted house sits in condemnation or is cleaned up and rented again. 

With meth lab remediation costs ranging from $5,000 to $150,000, according to the EPA, sometimes demolition is the most cost-effective option. After first-responders transport the chemicals to a hazardous waste facility, local officials say the home owners are responsible for the residual cleanup. 

In Florida, there is no law requiring that former meth labs be disclosed to prospective buyers or renters. And with the number of vacant dwellings on the rise in cities like Jacksonville, experts are not surprised that meth labs are becoming a bigger problem. 

"This can happen in any neighborhood," Conway says.

Source: "When Meth Moves In," Florida Times-Union (March 10, 2014)

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