Meth lab cleanup costly for everyone

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – It’s been several days since a meth lab exploded inside a Lafayette home and the evidence is still visible. “This explosion just shows you how volatile a meth lab can be,” said Indiana State Police Trooper Weslee Ennis. Ennis said it’s hard to know how much meth was cooking at the time of the explosion, but either way, he said the cleanup can be time-consuming and costly. “If it’s a small lab, you’re looking at an hour before we can get there, at least an hour to two hours working it, and you’re looking at two to three hours of paperwork once we leave the scene,” said Ennis. “So, there’s a lot of man hours that go into it. A lot of time, a lot of money.” First Sergeant Niki Crawford oversees all Meth Suppression Units in Indiana. She said on average, it costs $2,000 to clean up just one lab. She said the cost for the homeowner can sometimes be even more expensive. “Their cost can be anywhere from a few hundred dollars to $15,000 to $20,000, depending on how deep the contamination is left in the home,” said Crawford. Ennis said they receive federal grants to clean up meth labs. He said ultimately, it’s a cost that’s fronted by taxpayers. “No matter how you are going to slice it, the DEA is funded by taxpayers, state police are funded by taxpayers,” said Ennis. “So, yes, in the long run, it’s being funded by all of us that pay taxes.” According to statistics, 33 meth labs were discovered and cleaned up last year in Tippecanoe County alone. With an average cleanup cost of $2,000, that means about $66,000 was spent cleaning up the mess here locally. “It is costly, but in the long run, we’re putting people in jail that need to be in jail, and we’re helping to clean up some communities,” said Ennis.

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