Disgusting pictures: Inside suburban drug labs
THESE are the photos from inside clandestine drug labs, where toxic chemicals smeared the walls and benches were covered in filth, costing upwards of $20,000 to clean up and make safe.
After a year of objecting, that burden has now fallen on the shoulders of Logan City Council.
This week it agreed to take on the responsibility of ensuring houses used as clandestine drug labs are safe for tenants despite the possibility of being lumped with the massive clean-up bills.
And the price tag may not be cheap going on the $550,000 it cost state taxpayers to clean up 140 clandestine suburban meth labs in 2018-2019.
Although Logan has an average of five clandestine drug labs uncovered each year, police said cleaning up one property would cost upwards of $20,000.
Detective Inspector Tod Reid from Logan District CIB said his officers would charge suspects, seal the site as a crime scene before removing all drug producing equipment.
Under state legislation, it would then be up to the council officers to issue orders to get the owners to get the house decontaminated.
If that failed, it was likely the council would be left with the bill.
"The ingredients used in drug labs are highly toxic, flammable and dangerous," Inspector Reid said.
"Drug labs explode, ignite and release harmful gases that can cause serious health problems and be life threatening.
"In the 2019, five labs were located in the Logan Police District and all had the potential to cause great harm to the community."
One of the largest and most dangerous labs in Queensland was uncovered in a Marsden street, near a primary school in May 2018.
Since then, police have recorded more than 10 clandestine labs in the Logan council area, with the latest one uncovered at Jimboomba in April.
Police found 200g of amphetamine, 200 MDMA tablets, pseudoephedrine, 10 firearms, a taser, a baton and several stolen cars and said a shed on the property had been highly contaminated.
Another meth lab uncovered in Jimboomba in 2018 was found to have 1600 times the acceptable level of methamphetamine contamination.
Other houses raided in the past year where clandestine meth labs were operating were at Greenbank Rd, North Maclean; Kendall Cl, Loganholme; Clarendon Ave, Bethania; Oriole Cres, Slacks Creek and Park Ridge Rd, Park Ridge.
This week, the council agreed to train officers who will issue the orders forcing owners of contaminated properties to pay to clean up after the meth labs.
In the event of an owner refusing to pay or a default on payment, the council has asked the state government to hand over funds from its Criminal Proceeds Confiscation Act.
Logan Village-based drug decontamination expert Steve Annells from DunRite Decon said the number of clandestine meth labs was minimal compared with the number of smoke houses.
"The chemical residue has to be cleaned especially in rental properties where children might be affected as it stops them from sleeping and can cause lots of health issues," he said.
"My call-outs to meth houses have tripled in the past two years and I can only see that getting worse.
"The national Illicit Drug Data Report 2015-16 shows more than 65 per cent of drug labs were in residential addresses and 40 per cent of those were in Queensland.
"Police estimate that is just the tip of the iceberg."
Logan Guardian Angel Ed Hornery, who has also helped clean up drug sites, said to clean a meth lab all carpet, curtains, beds, couches and other absorbent material has to be removed.
"Depending on the level of contamination, food preparation surfaces such as kitchen benches also need to be removed," he said.
"Walls, ceilings, tiles and other surfaces where there is visible staining or discolouration have to be ripped out and removed."
Originally published as Disgusting pictures: Inside suburban drug labs