Investigation and Closure of Clandestine Laboratories
Agencies seizing and dismantling clandestine laboratories must comply with federal, state, and local environmental, health, and safety laws
and regulations applicable to the investigation and closure of such clandestine laboratories and the removal and the disposal of the chemicals,
equipment and wastes used in or resulting from the operations of these laboratories.
When a law enforcement agency seizes a clandestine drug laboratory site, that agency may become a hazardous waste generator under federal law (RCRA) and may need to comply with the following regulations:
The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) as amended by the Solid Waste Act (HSWA-40 CFR Parts 260 on definitions, 261 on hazardous
waste determinations, 262 on generators and 263 on transporters), governs the transportation, storage and disposal of hazardous wastes.
The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), as amended by the Superfunds Amendments and
Reauthorization Act (SARA), governs emergency responses for releases of hazardous substances into the environment and the cleanup of inactive
hazardous waste disposal sites (40 CFR 300).
The Hazardous Materials Transportation Act regulates packaging, marking, labeling, and transportation of hazardous materials including
hazardous wastes (49 CFR Parts 170, 171, and 172).
The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) regulates safety conditions in the workplace (29 CFR Part 1910.120) and establishes employee
right to know provisions (Part 1200).
Clandestine Laboratory - An illicit operation of a sufficient combination of apparatus and chemicals that either have been
or could be used in the manufacture of controlled substances. For the purpose of the reporting requirements set forth in these guidelines,
the El Paso Intelligence Center (EPIC) description of a clandestine laboratory will be utilized. The description is as follows:
An actual clandestine laboratory
Seizure of chemicals or apparatus
Waste abandonment sites
Clandestine Laboratory Encounter - See “Clandestine Laboratory”
Closed Laboratory - A clandestine laboratory that is no longer operational and has been seized and dismantled by
properly trained law enforcement officers.
DCFS - Illinois Department of Children and Family Services
DEA - United States Drug Enforcement Administration
EPIC - El Paso Intelligence Center
IDPH - Illinois Department of Public Health
IEMA - Illinois Emergency Management Agency
IEPA - Illinois Environmental Protection Agency
OSHA - Occupational Safety and Health Administration
Programs involving either the identification, seizure, or closure of clandestine laboratories can result in adverse health, safety and
environmental impacts to (1) the law enforcement and other governmental personnel involved; (2) any residents, occupants, users, and neighbors
of the site of a seized clandestine laboratory; (3) the seized laboratory site’s immediate and surrounding environment; and (4) the immediate
and surrounding environment of the site(s) where any remaining chemicals, equipment, and wastes from a seized laboratory’s operations are placed
or come to rest.
Investigating Agencies must adhere to the standards established by state and federal regulations.
Personnel assigned or to be assigned to the seizure or closure of clandestine laboratories must be given medical screenings, the
content and format of which are established by OSHA, prior to their performance of activities related to the seizure or closure of
clandestine laboratories. In addition, such personnel will be given annual medical re-screenings as established by OSHA, prior to their
continued performance of activities related to the seizure or closure of clandestine laboratories. Personnel who are reassigned and no
longer performing activities related to the seizure and closure of clandestine laboratories are required to obtain an exit medical
Records pertaining to the officers medical screening must be retained by their employing agency for 30 years after their employment
OSHA required initial and refresher training shall be provided for law enforcement officials and other personnel assigned by the
Investigating Agency to either the seizure or the closure of clandestine laboratories.
Clandestine Laboratory Training
An officer is considered “properly trained” if they have successfully completed a clandestine laboratory certification course that meets
OSHA requirements defined in 29 CFR 1910.120(e). In addition, each officer performing clandestine laboratory enforcement duties must
complete a minimum of eight hours recertification training annually.
OSHA required initial training and specialized training for managers and supervisors (commonly referred to as Site Safety Officers)
shall be provided for law enforcement officials and other personnel assigned by the Implementing Agency when these personnel act as
supervisors of activities related to the seizure or closure of clandestine laboratories.
In order for officers to maintain his/her clandestine laboratory certification, they must participate in a minimum of eight hours of
annual refresher training every year. The eight hours of refresher training may be accumulated during the course of the year in increments
or in one training session. An officer certified as a Site Safety Officer may conduct the required refresher training.
Personal Protective Equipment
As determined by their specific duties, personnel assigned to the program will be equipped with OSHA required protective wear and
other required safety equipment. Agencies may access additional information regarding required equipment by referring to requisite OSHA
regulations or by contacting the DEA Clandestine Laboratory Unit at 703/640-7359.
The level and type of personal protective equipment may vary depending on the type of incident.
Properly trained personnel must prepare a comprehensive contamination report on each closed laboratory. This will be accomplished by
the completion reports listed below:
Confined Space Permit (if required)
Exposure Reports for officers seizing and dismantling the clandestine laboratory.
Affix a clandestine laboratory seizure warning placard to the primary point of entry of the location where the lab was seized.
The Seizing Agency shall contact the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) command center at 800/782-7860, within 24 hours
after it encounters a clandestine laboratory, and notify IEMA of all clandestine laboratories it encounters.
IEMA serves as a single point of contact and timely notification to the IEMA command center eliminates the need for the Investigating
Agency to initiate procedures to ensure that written notification is made to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA), the
Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), the local health department and the property owner on each clandestine laboratory. IEMA
facilitates the coordination of assistance from the above described agencies, as well as the Department of Children and Family Services
The Investigating Agency shall report all clandestine laboratory seizures; the seizures of clandestine laboratory ingredients, apparatus and equipment; and the discovery of clandestine laboratory waste abandonment sites on the EPIC-143 form. Within 5 days of any encounter,
the Investigating Agency shall send the completed EPIC-143 form to EPIC at:
El Paso Intelligence Center
11339 SSG Sims Street
El Paso, Texas 79908-8098
In addition to calling the IEMA command center when it encounters a clandestine laboratory, the Implementing Agency shall immediately
notify the appropriate DEA field office, which will facilitate the remediation of the site. Unless otherwise directed by the ISP
Clandestine Laboratory Program Coordinator or the DEA, the implementing agency shall not store, remove, transport or dispose of any
chemicals and associated glassware, equipment, and contaminated materials and wastes from the site(s) of each seized clandestine
If the Seizing Agency does not utilize the DEA Hazardous Waste Contractor, and they elect to store, remove, transport or dispose of
any chemicals and associated glassware, equipment, and contaminated materials, the Seizing Agency shall:
Employ qualified disposal contractors to remove all chemicals and associated glassware, equipment, and contaminated materials and
wastes from the site(s) of each seized clandestine laboratory.
Dispose of the chemicals, equipment, and contaminated materials and wastes removed from the site(s) of each seized clandestine
laboratory at properly licensed disposal facilities, or when allowable, properly licensed recycling facilities.
Monitor the transport, disposal, and recycling components of above subparagraphs 1 and 2 in order to ensure proper compliance.
Drug Endangered Children
The Implementing Agency shall ensure the safety of children who are present or living at the site of clandestine laboratories. The
Implementing Agency’s response action shall include, at a minimum as necessary, taking such children into protective custody, ensuring
that children receive medical attention and contacting DCFS.
The Implementing Agency must either contact DCFS directly by utilizing the DCFS Child Abuse Hotline (800/252-2873) or when making
notification of the lab seizure to IEMA (800/782-7860), the Implementing Agency must ask IEMA personnel to make such notification to
Information and Assistance
If the law enforcement agencies have any questions regarding clandestine laboratories, they may call the ISP Clandestine Laboratory
Program Coordinator, at phone 217/558/0198 or 217/785-6623.
Police agencies seizing clandestine drug laboratories must comply with all applicable federal and state laws, regulations and
guidelines, including but not limited to:
Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) (42U.S.C.6901 et seq.) as amended by the Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments (HSWA)(
Comprehensive Environmental Response, compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) (42U.S.C.9601 et seq.), as amended by the Superfund
Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA);