Meth - Frequently Asked Questions - Real estate transactions at methamphetamine-affected properties
This document provides general guidance about real estate transactions involving potential methamphetamine-affected properties. The regulations (6 CCR 1014-3) and the real estate disclosure statute (Section 38-35.7-103, C.R.S.) should be referenced for additional detail and specific requirements. Assistance is also available by calling 303-692-3320, toll free at 1-888- 569-1831, ext. 3320, or by emailing email@example.com.
Where can I find the Regulations Pertaining to the Cleanup of Methamphetamine-Affected Properties (6 CCR 1014-3, Parts 1–3) and statute for real estate disclosure for methamphetamine (Section 38-35.7-103, C.R.S.)?
The regulations, statute and the real estate disclosure statute can be found at: https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/methlabregs.
What is a methamphetamine-affected property?
A methamphetamine-affected (meth-affected) property consists of areas on a property where methamphetamine has been manufactured, processed, cooked, disposed of, used or stored and all proximate areas that are likely to be contaminated as a result of the manufacturing, processing, cooking, disposal, use or storage of methamphetamine or the chemicals used to manufacture methamphetamine. A multi-unit building (such as an apartment complex, condominium, or commercial building) may contain more than one methamphetamine-affected property.
What is covered by the real estate disclosure statute?
Under the real estate disclosure statute, a buyer of residential real estate property has the right to test a property to determine if it is meth-affected. The statute, in conjunction with the regulations, requires that testing be performed by a consultant certified by the department in accordance with testing procedures set forth in the regulations (6 CCR 1014-3). The results of this testing must be provided to the seller. The seller has the right to hire a certified consultant to retest the property or accept the results of the test performed for the buyer.
How do I find a certified consultant?
A list of individuals (consultants) and companies (consultant firms) that have been certified by the department to perform assessments and sampling at meth-affected properties can be found at: https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/methlabcleanup.
What about sampling by a person who is not certified or who doesn’t follow the regulation?
Tests conducted to comply with the real estate disclosure statute (Section 38-35.7-103, C.R.S.) must be conducted by a certified consultant. However, nothing in the statute prohibits a person who is not certified from conducting sampling that is not intended to comply with the requirements of the real estate disclosure statute or the requirements of the regulations (6 CCR 1014-3). This non-compliant testing does not qualify as a screening level assessment, and does not afford the buyer the rights provided by the real estate disclosure statute. Non-compliant testing may not trigger any obligations on the part of the seller and may not have any legal or regulatory consequence.
What are the requirements for assessing a property for methamphetamine contamination?
The regulations include three types of assessments for properties that are or may be meth-affected. These include screening level assessments, preliminary assessments and clearance level assessments. The regulations set specific evaluation and sampling requirements for each type of assessment, as discussed further below. Only consultants who have a current, valid certification under the regulations can conduct these assessments and the required sampling.
What is a Screening Level Assessment?
A screening level assessment is an evaluation of a residential property conducted during a real estate transaction to determine if the property is meth-affected. The evaluation includes, but is not limited to, a site inspection and limited sampling. A screening level assessment may not be conducted at a property with known meth-related drug activity or where there are clear signs of contamination consistent with methamphetamine use or manufacturing. If either of these conditions exist, a more thorough type of evaluation called a “preliminary assessment” is required.
Screening level assessments are typically conducted for buyers of a property, but also may be conducted for a seller prior to listing a property. In accordance with the real estate disclosure statute for methamphetamine (§38-35.7-103, C.R.S.), the seller has the right to have a property retested by their own certified consultant rather than accept the results of the initial screening level assessment. If the seller’s tests are substantially different than the buyer’s test results, additional assessment may be required to determine whether the property is meth- affected.
What are the screening level sampling requirements?
Screening level sampling performed for real estate transactions involving single family dwellings includes the collection of multi-part (composite) samples made up of individual samples (aliquots) collected from multiple rooms. A minimum of two 4-aliquot composite samples must be collected, with at least one aliquot collected from every room, including all rooms in outbuildings. If there is a forced air ventilation system, at least one aliquot must be collected from the cold air return. All exhaust fans must be sampled; however, a separate surface sample does not need to be collected from any room from which an exhaust or ventilation system sample is collected. Samples are not required to be collected from attics or crawl spaces during a screening level assessment.
Screening level assessments performed for real estate transactions involving multi-unit buildings, where no units exhibit signs of methamphetamine manufacturing or use, require that at least ten (10) percent of the units be evaluated by collecting at least one 4-aliquot sample per unit. If there is a forced air ventilation system, at least one aliquot must be collected from the cold air return.
Screening level sampling requirements are specified in Part 1, Section 6.7 of the regulations (6 CCR 1014-3).
How do I interpret the results of a Screening Level Assessment?
If no methamphetamine is detected by sampling conducted during a screening level assessment, or if methamphetamine is detected below 0.2 ug/100 cm2, the property is not considered to be methamphetamine-affected and no further action is required. Note that a screening level assessment cannot be used to clear a property that was previously determined to be contaminated (unless, subsequent to the original contamination, the property had been decontaminated and then determined through clearance-level assessment to meet the cleanup criteria in the regulations).
If methamphetamine is detected above 0.2 ug/100 cm2 by sampling conducted during a screening level assessment, the property owner has two options:
The property may be assumed to be a methamphetamine-affected property, with no further sampling, and must comply with the preliminary assessment and decontamination requirements of the regulations; or
Clearance level sampling may be conducted to determine if methamphetamine concentrations are above the cleanup standards. If the clearance level sampling results, conducted in accordance with Section 6.0 of the regulation, demonstrate that concentrations of methamphetamine do not exceed the cleanup standards, the subject property is considered compliant with the clearance requirements of the regulations. If the clearance level sampling fails to demonstrate that methamphetamine concentrations are below the specified cleanup standards, then the subject property must be decontaminated in accordance with the requirements of the regulations. Because the regulations require that a preliminary assessment be conducted prior to decontamination, the division recommends that the information required for a preliminary assessment be collected as part of the clearance assessment.
In certain circumstances, a property owner has a third alternative when a screening level assessment shows methamphetamine contamination above 0.2 ug/100cm2; the owner may rely on the results of a previously conducted preliminary assessment report or a post-decontamination report that demonstrates the property meets the cleanup standards, provided the property owner can demonstrate, to the division’s satisfaction, that the property was not re-contaminated after the prior report was completed. This situation sometimes occurs when a screening level assessment performed for a buyer indicates that methamphetamine is present above the 0.2 ug/100cm2 level, and then the buyer decides to terminate the contract. The owner then has a full preliminary assessment performed that demonstrates the property is below the 0.5 ug/100 cm2 cleanup standard. A second screening level assessment is performed for a second buyer that again shows the property exceeds the 0.2 ug/100 cm2 level. In this case, provided the owner can demonstrate to the division’s satisfaction that the property was not re-contaminated after the prior report was completed, the owner may rely on the results of the prior preliminary assessment.
What is a Preliminary Assessment?
A preliminary assessment is an in-depth evaluation of a property to determine whether it is contaminated with unsafe levels of methamphetamine or related chemicals. A preliminary assessment includes a property background check, comprehensive site inspection, testing to determine which chemicals may be present (unless, based on other information collected, the consultant simply deems the property to be contaminated above the standard, triggering decontamination) and where these are located, and documentation of sample results and findings. This assessment is used to determine if cleanup is necessary, and if so, which areas will need decontamination or which materials may need to be removed.
The preliminary assessment includes an inspection of all rooms, attics, crawl spaces, out buildings and outdoor areas, and an evaluation of forced air ventilation systems and sewer components or septic systems. If the preliminary assessment involves a unit in a multi-unit structure, the preliminary assessment shall include an evaluation of the potential for contamination to have migrated into other rooms or common areas, including the potential for migration through shared ventilation systems, attics or crawl spaces.
What are the clearance standards for a methamphetamine-affected property?
The methamphetamine concentration shall not exceed 0.5 μg /100 cm2, except as follows:
Methamphetamine concentrations of samples taken from limited exposure areas (i.e., attics, crawl spaces and wall cavities) shall not exceed 4 μg/100 cm2
Methamphetamine concentrations of discrete or composite surface wipe samples taken from painted-over surfaces in accordance with Section 6.2.15, Part 1 of the regulations, shall not exceed 1.5 μg/100 cm2. A painted-over surface is a surface that was painted after the cessation of contamination-causing activities but prior to the discovery of a methamphetamine contamination at a property.
If there is evidence of iodine contamination on materials or surfaces that will not be removed, surface wipe samples for iodine shall not exceed a concentration of 22 μg/100 cm2.
If the preliminary assessment indicates the phenyl-2-propanone (P2P) method of methamphetamine manufacturing was used, surface wipe samples for lead shall not exceed a concentration of 40 μg/ft2.
If the preliminary assessment indicates the phenyl-2-propanone (P2P) method of methamphetamine manufacturing was used, vapor samples for mercury shall not exceed a concentration of 1.0 μg/m3.
What are the reporting requirements for real estate testing?
If the screening level assessment was conducted for a buyer as part of a real estate transaction, the report must be submitted to the seller in accordance with state statute (§38- 35.7-103(2)(a), C.R.S.). The consultant must also send the screening level assessment report to the department in electronic format (via email, file sharing system, compact disk, etc.) within thirty (30) days after all of the laboratory results are received. Reports required to be submitted to the department can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
Updated: April 2018 https://environmentalrecords.colorado.gov/HPRMWebDrawerHM/RecordView/410409