Local & Regional
Thu August 13, 2009
Cleaning Up After Meth Part #-2
By Marshall Stewart
Tulsa, OK – Yesterday we told you about the dangers of meth lab contamination and a lack of standards and policies to cleanup those hazardous waste sites. Today, we focus on what could and should be done to keep you and your neighbors safe.
A few short years ago, Oklahoma led the nation in an effort to get rid of illegal meth labs. The chief instrument in the battle a new law severely limiting the ability to buy large quantities of Pseudoephedrine, an essential ingredient in making meth. Bill Coye with Apex Bioclean, says the state should be praised for that move, but now that illegal labs are making a comeback, Oklahoma still has no rules or standards for cleaning up the toxins left behind by meth makers.
Randy Smith is with Tulsa University's Indoor Air Quality Program. He says there are a lot of unknowns, a lot of questions yet to be answered in the debate over meth lab contamination. But, Smith says he's unaware of any real effort in Oklahoma right now to study and recommend solutions to the problem.
Since taking office, Tulsa City Councilor Eric Gomez has seen more than his share of meth lab problems in his district in the heart of town, including explosions and fires caused by the volatile mixture. He's aware of the danger to people and the environment posed by meth labs.
Gomez is also in the real estate business, and he says meth cleanup presents a costly dilemma for people in his industry.
Still, Gomez wants to see action to keep citizens safe, but he says it starts with the state government; the city does not have the resources to deal with the problem.
Tulsa State Representative Lucky Lamons, a former police officer, is chairing a legislative committee on meth and meth labs. He expects recommendations to come from lawmakers, but says past arguments over the cost of cleanup and who has the responsibility have doomed most efforts at the capitol to this point. Because of the danger to the public, he hopes results will be different in the coming legislative session.