In light of public libraries across the state finding drug contamination in communal spaces, a woman from Evergreen wants people to know contamination could be lurking anywhere — even in homes — and that’s why she’s teaming up with State Sen. Lisa Cutter to introduce a bill that would hold remediators accountable.
In 2018, Kathi McCarty’s worst nightmare came true when she found the tenant she had been renting her beautiful mountain cabin to had been using it as a lab to cook methamphetamine. The following years of McCarty’s life would include legal and financial struggles that would ultimately end in her selling the home, fully disclosed, for a low price.
Soon after selling, McCarty would watch the new owners go on to encapsulate the contamination inside the home after failing to remediate to state standard. Then they would sell it at an exorbitant price, undisclosed to the new buyer. McCarty went on to found Meth Toxins Awareness Alliance, a group that focuses on education, resources and legislation for meth contamination. She said helping others has given meaning to her misfortune.
“Why did this happen to me? And how can I take a really jacked up situation in my own life that literally cost me over half a million dollars — let's not sugarcoat that part of it — but put it to some really good use,” McCarty said.
Meth Toxins Awareness Alliance aims to protect renters, property owners, buyers and their loved ones from meth contamination by providing education opportunities, support and work towards governmental change.
Some of that change is happening in the form of a bill that will be introduced to the Senate on March 9 to protect homeowners and renters from the potential history of illegal drug laboratories in their homes.
The bill, presented by Colorado State Sen. Lisa Cutter, will add to current laws about remediation. Currently, the department of public health and environment certifies people who assess, decontaminate or sample properties that once were sites of illegal drug laboratories.
The bill will add a requirement that the department will inspect the work of each certified person once every three years. If errors are found, remedial education or decertification will ensue for the responsible party.
The bill also will require the department to create a public database of buildings that have been used as illegal drug laboratories. A building can be removed from the database five years after the property has been decontaminated.
“We're trying to look to improve what's there, not take away what’s there, but improve, just enhance what's already there,” McCarty said
Sen. Cutter explained why work like this is important to her.
“I'm really interested in addressing toxins in our environment to the degree that we can,” she said.
The bill will be heard by the local government and housing committee on March 9.