LITTLE ROCK The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality unveiled a new website this week for tracking properties contaminated by methamphetamine manufacturing.
The MethViewer application allows users to interact with a GIS map showing properties that have not been decontaminated or have only recently been decontaminated after authorities found manufacturing operations on the premises.
Clyde Rhodes, the chief of the ADEQ hazardous waste division, said remnants from chemicals used in such drug operations can cause medical problems ranging from skin and eye irritation to difficulty breathing.
"Typically in the manufacturing of methamphetamine, you're dealing with some pretty hazardous chemicals," he said. "It's just not a good situation for a residential environment at all."
Property owners are required to have the buildings decontaminated - a process which Rhodes said can cost up to $10,000 - before allowing residents to inhabit the space again. After that, samples are sent to the state to verify the dangers have been removed. Ten days after it is determined to be safe, the property is removed from the MethViewer map.
Real estate personnel or those looking to purchase property should use the site, Rhodes said, because there may be no other signs that manufacturing occurred. But he said that doesn't mean the dangers are gone, since the chemicals can lurk unseen in ceiling tiles, air ducts, carpet and other parts of the structure, Rhodes said.
"Someone could go in and clean up the home and you would never know," he said.
ADEQ previously maintained only a text listing of the properties. That and the new map site are based off of information provided by law enforcement, Rhodes said.