Cleanup Company Takes On The Burden
by Veronica Craker, BBB Managing Editor & Writer
Link to Original Article
“Do you ever get used to death?”
That’s a question BIO Management Northwest techs get asked a lot. The response is always the same.
“No, We never do,” “How can you?”
Bio Management Northwest’s headquarters have been owned an operated in Edmonds, but offers services throughout Washington and Oregon. Some of the services thet provide include: homicide, suicide and unattended death remediation; police and personal vehical cleaning; hoarding and clutter cleaning; blood, body fluid and tissue disposal; fire, smoke and water damage remediation and insurance assistance.
“We use the word remediation and abatement a lot, but we’re basically a very specialized hazmat company,” “We get some exotic cases. The things would you not normally think of – we handle it.”
Some of those “exotic cases” even brought him 15 minutes of fame when he was featured in two episodes of A&E’s show “Hoarders”.
In the Beginning
Prior to launching Bio Management Northwest, the main shareholder ran a commercial janitorial business. But in 2006, they sensed a recession was on the way and decided a career move was in order.
“We research what three factors were involved in the last recession and what businesses flourished,”
The three industries that remained profitable included funeral homes, entertainment, and forced economics. “Well we can’t tap dance or sing, so forced economics – that’s what we are.”
We started out with one employee and a truck. But it didn’t take long for the business to grow.
“We saw a flux in the first year and a half when we were going in,” they said.
Getting Close to Death
BIONW will be the first to tell you the job comes with difficulties. They don’t try to sugar coat the intensity of the business. Especially when having to deal with death on a routine basis.
BIONW said they rotate crew members out of crime scene cleanup to avoid technicians suffering having a hard time.
“It can affect you,” BIONW said. “We have had people suffer from PTSD.”
When handling crime scene cleanup, the Bio Management Northwest team typically comes in after law enforcement has conducted its investigation. Their job during is to eliminate any bio-hazardous waste, ensuring the area is safe for the public.
To maintain a high level of professionalism, BIONW personally train their dozen or so crew members. They receive drug lab cleanup certification from the Department of Health and are also required to attend hazardous waste classes.
“So there are classes and onsite training that they must go through,” BIONW, operations manager, said.
BIONW is insistent that their employees are capable of handling the seriousness of the job. In fact, much of the Bio Management Northwest staff have military backgrounds or have worked for other restoration companies.
“There’s a lot of discipline and field experience.” “It’s a very well-rounded bunch.”
Drug Lab Cleaning
In 2014, the Drug Enforcement Agency conducted nearly 3,000 methamphetamine seizures. That’s twice as many as a decade earlier. Decontamination of a meth lab must be performed by professionals. That’s why Bio Management Northwest certifies its technicians in hazardous waste disposal.
According to the Bio Management Northwest website, meth residue coats the surfaces in homes and over exposure to the chemicals can result in liver and kidney damage, neurological problems, and an increased risked of cancer.
“I would highly recommend testing for methamphetamine when buying a house,” BIONW said. “We find, a lot of the times, a family will buy a house and a neighbor will come over and tell them there was a lot of drug use done there.”
They also suggest property managers test for contaminants between each tenant. BIONW have given seminars and classes on this type of testing to help property managers protect themselves or their tenants.
“We are happy to educate them,” BIONW said. “We’re highly specialized and we’ve got a lot of experience in working with property managing companies.”
Business has been steady for the past decade and a half, but BIONW is already working at expanding services. They are currently working on offering services for disease control for pandemics and epidemics.
“I keep the services we provide very diverse,” BIONW said.
Crime Scene Cleanup
Despite offering an array of services, probably the most interesting is crime scene cleanup. While this kind of work might seem upsetting, Bio Management insists the reward comes from helping others.
“There’s nothing like when you come up to a scene and there’s people who have lost a loved one and you’re helping to guide them through the process,” BIONW said. “They’re already traumatized and just the thought of them going through the process of cleaning up after a suicide or unattended death is a scarring event. There’s a lot of personal reward for helping people.”
BIONW likes to say the company is full of “big softies.” So much so, the company has been known to offer services pro bono. If a family is unable to cover the cleaning expenses, Bio Management Northwest will step in and cover the costs.
“We just try to limit the cost to families because they don’t need to be dealing with that added stress,” BIONW said.
“We’re probably the only company in Washington state that does that,” BIONW said.