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Inspector General

  Investigation and Closure of Clandestine Laboratories  

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General Requirement

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:

  1. 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.

  2. 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).

  3. The Hazardous Materials Transportation Act regulates packaging, marking, labeling, and transportation of hazardous materials including hazardous wastes (49 CFR Parts 170, 171, and 172).

  4. 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).

  5. State and Local regulations.

View Definitions
Specific Requirements

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.

  1. Medical Monitoring

    1. 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 screening.

    2. Records pertaining to the officers medical screening must be retained by their employing agency for 30 years after their employment terminates.

  2. Training

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

    3. 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.

  3. Personal Protective Equipment

    1. 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.

    2. The level and type of personal protective equipment may vary depending on the type of incident.

  4. Reporting

    1. Properly trained personnel must prepare a comprehensive contamination report on each closed laboratory. This will be accomplished by the completion reports listed below:

      1. Site Plan
      2. Confined Space Permit (if required)
      3. Exposure Reports for officers seizing and dismantling the clandestine laboratory.
      4. Affix a clandestine laboratory seizure warning placard to the primary point of entry of the location where the lab was seized.

    2. 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 (DCFS).

    3. 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

  5. Site Remediation

    1. 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 laboratory.

    2. 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:

      1. 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.

      2. 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.

      3. Monitor the transport, disposal, and recycling components of above subparagraphs 1 and 2 in order to ensure proper compliance.


  6. Drug Endangered Children

    1. 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.

    2. 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 DCFS.

  7. 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.


  8. Applicable Law

    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)( (Pub.L.98-616);
    • Comprehensive Environmental Response, compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) (42U.S.C.9601 et seq.), as amended by the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA);
    • Hazardous Materials Transportation Act (49U.S.C.5101 eq seq.);
    • Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) (29U.S.C.651 eq seq.);
    • OSHA Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response Standard (HAZWOPER) (29 C.F.R. 1910.1200)
    • OSHA Respiratory Protection Standard (29 C.F.R. 1910.134);
    • OSHA Hazard Communication Standard (29 C.F.R. 1910.120).

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