Meth clean-up costs mount

Walk­ers ig­nore washout risks

The Hutt News - - NEWS -

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.

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