PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT) – A new feature on the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality's web-site allows users to find properties that have been contaminated with methamphetamine. According to Greene County Sheriff Dan Langston, potential renters or home buyers will be able to use the web-site as a tool in determining if they want to make the transaction. The site will also assist law enforcement officers when grouping properties where drug problems have existed.
"What we're trying to do is take care of places that are repetitious. In other words, places where we have a persistent problem," said Langston. "This is probably one of the best ways in getting them out of that residence until it is cleaned up."
Users can search all 75 Arkansas counties for properties that have been deemed contaminated by ADEQ. Under state law, law enforcement agencies are required to contact ADEQ when they find a meth lab inside a residence. In Paragould, the site lists several rental properties, apartment complexes and a motel.
"These people that make this crystal methamphetamine in an apartment, or in a motel room or in a rental house or something like that care nothing about the neighbors or who might occupy that structure next," said Langston. "The contaminants that are in this residency will trace back to the next person that moves in there and they get the residue."
Langston said he believes the web-site's new feature will help keep people safe if they use it when looking for a place to live.
"The corrosion of the metal and things like that, light fixtures, anything that's metal, it will adhere to that and it will cause corrosion and with that corrosion there are also gases from that," said Langston.
According to state law, all contaminated properties are to remain on the list until a certified remediation company performs cleanup.
"The youth or the children that are in the home, they really don't realize what this rash is or how come they're coughing all the time or runny nose or something like that," said Langston. "It could be that the residual effects or the contaminants are still in that location."
Langston said future tenants are not the only potential victims. He said landlords also fall victim to meth-makers.
Click here to review ADEQ's interactive map.
"It makes a victim out of the property owner. He's a victim of this person's actions," said Langston. "That's the risk that he takes by renting that property to a person."
Langston said the Greene County Sheriff's Office averages two meth busts each week.
"They have to eat that price of cleaning that up and getting it ready to rent or ready to sell," said Langston.
"That owner of that property is a victim but we do not want to multiply the victims by him renting to an unsuspecting person that goes in and the next thing this person has is health problems," said Langston. "It benefits the citizenry out here so they're not victims. The property owner is a victim of the actions of his renter, but it also protects those people out there who want to move into a nice neighborhood."