Meth clean-up costs mount
Walkers ignore washout risks
Methamphetamine (P) contamination has been found in one of three Housing New Zealand (HNZ) properties tested in Lower Hutt.
Figures released in late- April revealed the house was part of a nationwide sweep of 196 addresses last year where 101 were found to have traces of P. Another one was confirmed along the Kapiti Coast.
Positive readings could be from as little as people having puffed on a pipe to a fully-fledged cooking setup.
HNZ general manager property services Marcus Bosch, who oversees the organisation’s 68,000 homes, said staff were trained to identify signs that a tenant was cooking meth and how to deal with them.
For three years, 2012-14, four HNZ properties needed to be demolished because of P contamination. Three were in Auckland and one in Tauranga.
Remediating a contaminated property generally ranges from $10,000 to $30,000 for a specialised clean, while demolition of a small house can cost about $15,500.
Last year taxpayers forked out $1.3 million on cleaning up HNZ homes found with readings of methamphetamine on surfaces of 0.5mcg per 100cm2 or greater.
In 2014, HNZ ended 200 tenancies because of antisocial behaviour or illegal activity. It does not specifically record methamphetaminerelated offences.
Envirocheck Forensics which tests and decontaminates P houses nationwide is seeing a continual boost in business.
The company’s Lower Hutt representative, Andrew Ward, believed prospective home buyers were becoming increasingly nervous about health risks that could be included in a meth-contaminated property.
A recent case involved a Wellington woman who developed a mysterious rash. It turned out the flat below her one had housed a P lab, causing chemicals to seep through the building. Initial swab tests sent to Hill Laboratories in Hamilton cost people about $180 and could determine whether meth was smoked in the property or if it housed traces of chemical components from manufacturing. Park rangers have asked walkers to take extreme care in Belmont Park following this month’s floods.
Greater Wellington regional council’s principal ranger for the western area, Wayne Boness, said the Korokoro Dam track suffered particularly severe damage and should not be entered.
‘‘Three bridges are down, others are loaded with debris.
‘‘Sections of the track have been washed away and others severely compromised and in a dangerous state.’’
Sections of the track are unusable now and could deteriorate further in the next downpour, sections of track could subside or fall away and people could end up in the stream.
‘‘It’s potentially very dangerous out there,’’ he said.
The flooded Korokoro Stream wiped out this cycle/pedestrian bridge.