South Main St. in Churubusco, Indiana used to be called home by Julie Sabatino and her son. But in 2009, after they had experienced unusual health problems, Julie, a single mom, discovered something about the home that no one told her when she bought the home – it had previously been used to manufacture meth and no one had ever decontaminated it.
The high cost of decontaminating the home left Julie with only one choice – let the home fall in to foreclosure and find a safe place to live. “We don’t belong anywhere I guess. It’s tearing me up. It just makes me sick to think about it”, she says. Julie and her son, a high school student, now come home every day to a homeless shelter.
According to a real estate listing on the Internet, Julie’s former home at 501 South Main St in Churubusco has been decontaminated and has received clearance. Julie says “I don’t believe they did anything to it”, leaving unanswered questions about whether the home is safe to inhabit. Additional descriptions of the home by the realtor describe it as a HUD home that is being sold in “as is condition”. In other words “once you buy it, you own whatever problems or expenses come with it”. The listing does warn potential buyers that several repairs need to be done to the 100 year old home, including repairs to the plumbing, walls, ceilings, and chimney. The listing also says that storm and screen windows, the roof, the water heater and downspouts should also be replaced. The home, which is currently listed at $32,000, has been reduced for each of the past two months.
If you’re thinking of buying or renting the Sabatino home or any home and you have concerns that it may have been used as a former meth lab, please be sure you have the home tested. Julie and her son got very ill after living in this home.
Julie’s “dream home” has turned out to be her worst nightmare. This should not have happened to them, nor should it happen to anyone; yet it is happening to innocent families every day all across the U.S.
According to a 2005 report by the General Environmental Health Services Committee of The Indiana Environmental Health Association, “no one should rent, purchase, or occupy a former meth lab property unless cleanup has occurred.”
Records involving decontamination, according to Indiana regulations, can now be obtained by the owner of the home (which is now the bank) and other government agencies (see list below).
“TITLE 318 DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT ARTICLE 1. INSPECTION AND CLEANUP OF PROPERTY CONTAMINATED WITH CHEMICALS, Sec. 11.
“The person who signs the certificate of decontamination shall make the following records and documents relevant to decontaminations and inspections performed by that person available upon request to the owner of the contaminated property, the department, the local health department, and the state department of health for a period of at least five (5) years after the certificate of decontamination has been issued. (1) A copy of the certificate of decontamination.(2) All data and reports received from the laboratory that analyzes the post-decontamination samples relevant to the property.(3) Copies of relevant laboratory records required by the analytical method used.(4) Field sampling logs.” (Department of Environmental Management; 318 IAC 1-5-11; filed Feb 21, 2007, 1:56 p.m.: 20070321-IR-318060125FRA)