Managing Hazardous Waste

We strengthen regulations and streamline waste management

Illegal Drug Lab Removal Program

Health and Safety Code section 25354.5 requires DTSC removal and disposal of hazardous substances discovered by law enforcement officials while investigating illegal/clandestine drug laboratories. The illegal manufacture of psychoactive drugs, primarily methamphetamine, is a major health and safety issue while the disposal of illegal drug lab waste poses a significant environmental threat to both urban and rural communities.  Contaminants at drug labs and lab waste abandonments range from highly volatile organic solvents and semi-volatile organic compounds, to highly corrosive inorganic acids and bases, the illicit drug itself, and other by-products. DTSC’s Illegal Drug Lab Removal Program has funded and coordinated the removal and disposal actions at more than 19,000 illegal drug labs and drug lab waste abandonments since July 1, 1995.

DTSC, in conjunction with the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), developed a health-based cleanup number of 1.5 ug/100 square centimeters for homes identified as locations of a former methamphetamine labs. This cleanup number was promulgated in statute by the passage of Assembly Bill 1489 in 2009.  If you should have any questions, please contact Adam Palmer at (916) 255-6572.

To Request State Assistance:

DTSC assistance for the removal of suspected hazardous substances from illegal drug labs may be requested by state or local law enforcement agencies, or by other local government agencies working with law enforcement agencies on a drug lab or abandoned drug lab wastes. If you are a business owner or private citizen and discover drug lab wastes on your property, along the road, or in some remote area, contact your local law enforcement agency and provide them with the location of the lab waste abandonment. Do not attempt to move or inspect the materials, as they contain hazardous wastes and should only be handled by trained personnel.

To contact the DTSC Emergency Response Duty Officer:

  • Monday through Friday, from 8 am to 5 pm, please contact DTSC at (800) 260-3972 or (916) 255-6504.
  • After hours, weekends, or on holidays, please call the Cal OES Warning Control Center at (800) 852-7550 and ask to speak to the DTSC Emergency Response Duty Officer.

Downloadable Documents

A roadside abandonment of hazardous waste associated with an illegal drug lab operation.
Hazardous waste from an illegal drug lab operation being segregated and packaged by DTSC's contractors.
DTSC HazMat crew mitigating a cylinder used at an illegal drug lab operation.