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Asbestos

Asbestos is classified as a hazardous air pollutant by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and why demolition and renovation projects must comply with certain asbestos requirements before they begin.

 

 

 Regulating Asbestos

 

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral fiber that has been widely used in many construction materials and manufactured products: from insulation to vinyl flooring, to spray-on "popcorn" ceilings.

Left undisturbed and in good condition, these products can perform as intended. Problems arise, however, when they deteriorate and fall apart or are disturbed during demolition and renovation. This can cause asbestos to break down (become “friable”) into tiny fibers that become airborne.  These fibers are easily inhaled and settle deep into the lungs where they cause lung cancer, asbestosis, or mesothelioma (a related terminal cancer) several years later.

Anyone who works or has the potential of working with products containing asbestos must fully comply with all regulatory requirements.

Asbestos Regulations and Resources

Multiple Unit Structures

Asbestos Disposal

Asbestos Labeling Requirement

Frequently Asked Questions

 

 Homeowners

 
Homeowners Demolition
Before you start, check for asbestos and then follow our requirements carefully – failure to do so can result in deadly health problems, or a notice of violation and monetary penalties. (Also, check with your local building department as they may have additional requirements for demolishing your house.)

1. Conduct an asbestos survey.

Surveys must be conducted by an AHERA-certified building inspector. You can find these inspectors listed in the phone book under “Asbestos Consulting and Testing.” You must share the survey results with your demolition contractor and anyone else who may come in contact with the material, and keep a copy of the survey on site.

2. File an Asbestos/Demolition Notification.

An Asbestos/Demolition Notification and a filing fee must be submitted to this agency before any asbestos removal or demolition begins. This applies to all structures, including mobile homes with greater than 120 square feet of roof area. Print a copy of the Notice you submit and keep it available for inspection.

Asbestos/Demolition Notification

• Please refer to our Regulation III, Section 4.03 (PDF 0.1MB) for details about notification and fees.

3. Properly remove all asbestos.

Remove all friable asbestos-containing material prior to demolition. Nonfriable asbestos-containing material may be left in place during the demolition, provided it remains nonfriable, but must be promptly transferred to a disposal container with a sign identifying the material as “nonfriable asbestos waste”.

NOTE: We strongly encourage you to employ a certified asbestos abatement contractor to remove any asbestos. The work is difficult, time-consuming, and dangerous to you and your family’s health if procedures and regulations are not strictly followed. These experts have specialized equipment and training and employ techniques to control asbestos fibers not available to homeowners. In addition, asbestos removal work is physically demanding, requiring a respirator, non-breathable coveralls, rubber gloves and boots, working in high humidity and on wet, slippery surfaces.

If you remove friable asbestos-containing material yourself, you must follow Regulation III, Section 4.05 (b) “Friable Asbestos Removal Work Practices” and 4.07 “Disposal of Asbestos-Containing Waste Material" (PDF 0.1MB). The following homeowner instructions for three common types of friable asbestos-containing materials are available to help you remove the material yourself:

How to Properly Remove Spray-on “Popcorn” Ceilings From Owner-Occupied, Single-Family Residences Only (PDF 0.6MB)

How to Properly Remove Sheet Vinyl Flooring with Asbestos Backing From Owner-Occupied, Single-Family Residences Only (PDF 0.5MB)

How to Properly Remove Cement Asbestos-Board Siding From Owner-Occupied, Single-Family Residences Only (PDF 0.5MB)

If you remove nonfriable asbestos-containing material yourself, you must follow Regulation III, Section 4.05 (c) "Method of Removal for Nonfriable, Asbestos-Containing Material" (PDF 0.1MB).

4. Properly dispose of the asbestos.

Take friable asbestos-containing waste to an Asbestos Disposal Waste Facility authorized to receive the waste. Complete and bring an Asbestos waste material shipment record (PDF 0.1MB) to dispose of the friable asbestos waste at the disposal site. Nonfriable asbestos-containing waste must be promptly transferred to a disposal container labeled "nonfriable asbestos waste". Please contact your local disposal company for further instructions.

5. Demolish the structure.

You must wait 10 days after submitting an Asbestos/Demolition Notification to demolish your house, whether or not there is an asbestos project involved.

Homeowners Renovation
Before you start any renovation project, check for asbestos and then follow our requirements carefully – failure to do so can result in deadly health problems, or a notice of violation and monetary penalties.

1. Conduct an asbestos survey.

If you live in and own the single family house to be remodeled, you may conduct your own survey to identify asbestos-containing materials. Please refer to our sampling protocol guidance document, Asbestos Survey Guidance (PDF 0.2MB).

In all other situations, such as renovating your rental property or condominium, or demolishing your house, you must hire an AHERA-certified building inspector to perform the survey. These inspectors are listed in the phone book yellow pages under “Asbestos Consulting and Testing.”

Share the survey results with anyone who may come in contact with the material to be disturbed and keep a copy of the survey on site.

2. Decide what to do if asbestos is found. Either:

A. Leave it alone. Asbestos becomes a health risk if it is disturbed or deteriorating and fibers are released into the air. It may be possible to work around the asbestos during the renovation without disturbing it.

B. Repair or encapsulate. You may re-seal or encapsulate the asbestos in its location and without notifying our agency if it is not disturbed.

Sometimes, asbestos can be repaired rather than removed. This is basically a process of securely re-sealing asbestos in its location. For example, a few inches of torn, loose, or frayed asbestos tape wrap on heating ducts can be repaired with duct tape. Damaged hot water pipe insulation can be covered with a specially designed fabric available at safety equipment stores.

Some asbestos applications that are in good condition can be encapsulated to reduce the likelihood of asbestos fibers releasing into the air. Encapsulation is the best option when dealing with insulation on heating systems. There are two types of encapsulants:

Penetrating encapsulants are products that seep into asbestos-containing materials and bond with asbestos fibers securing them in place. They have little impact on the outward appearance of treated materials.

Bridging encapsulants are products, such as paint, that coat asbestos-containing materials. They are most commonly used to encapsulate popcorn ceiling and furnace and heat duct insulation.

Be aware, however, that while encapsulation may seem like an attractive option, especially for furnace ducts or popcorn ceilings, there may be less obvious costs and risks involved. For example, painting to encapsulate may make future removal much more difficult and expensive. Also, popcorn applications that become too heavy with added encapsulant product, or through water damage, may fall off the ceiling in clumps, possibly releasing asbestos fibers.

C. Remove it. You may remove the asbestos yourself if you live in and own your single-family house. New homeowners may remove asbestos prior to occupying their house. If you are renovating your rental property or condominium, or are a renter, you must hire a certified asbestos abatement contractor to remove the asbestos.

NOTE: We strongly encourage you to employ a certified asbestos abatement contractor to remove any asbestos. The work is difficult, time-consuming, and dangerous to you and your family’s health if procedures and regulations are not strictly followed. These experts have specialized equipment and training and employ techniques to control asbestos fibers not available to homeowners. In addition, asbestos removal work is physically demanding, requiring a respirator, non-breathable coveralls, rubber gloves and boots, working in high humidity and on wet, slippery surfaces.

State-certified asbestos abatement contractors

If you decide to remove the asbestos yourself, you must:

1) File an Asbestos/Demolition Notification. Before you remove friable asbestos-containing material from the structure, you must submit the following notification along with a $30 filing fee:

Single-Family Residence Notification

Print a copy of the Notification you submit and keep it available for inspection.

You do not need to file a Notice if you are removing:

• Less than 10 linear feet of pipe or 48 square feet of surface area (per calendar year) of friable asbestos

• Nonfriable asbestos-containing material, such as asbestos roofing, vinyl asbestos tile, mastic or caulking

2) Properly remove asbestos. When removing friable asbestos-containing material you must follow Regulation III, Section 4.05 (b) “Friable Asbestos Removal Work Practices” and 4.07 “Disposal of Asbestos-Containing Waste Material ” (PDF 0.1MB). Remember to dispose of the friable asbestos debris within 10 days after you remove it. The following homeowner instructions for three common types of friable asbestos-containing materials are available to help you remove the material yourself.

How to Properly Remove Spray-on “Popcorn” Ceilings From Owner-Occupied, Single-Family Residences Only (PDF 0.6MB)

How to Properly Remove Sheet Vinyl Flooring with Asbestos Backing From Owner-Occupied, Single-Family Residences Only (PDF 0.5MB)

How to Properly Remove Cement Asbestos-Board Siding From Owner-Occupied, Single-Family Residences Only (PDF 0.5MB)

When removing nonfriable asbestos-containing material you must follow the "Method of Removal for Nonfriable, Asbestos-Containing Material" as noted in Regulation III, Section 4.05 (c) (PDF 0.1MB).

3) Properly dispose of the asbestos. Take friable asbestos-containing waste to an Asbestos Disposal Waste Facility authorized to receive the waste. Complete and bring an asbestos waste material shipment record (PDF 0.1MB) to dispose of the friable asbestos waste at the disposal site. Nonfriable asbestos-containing waste must be promptly transferred to a disposal container labeled "nonfriable asbestos waste." Please contact your local disposal company for further instructions.

 

 Contractors

 
Contractor Demolition
Before you start any demolition project, you must check for asbestos and then follow our requirements carefully – failure to do so can result in deadly health problems, or a notice of violation and monetary penalties. (Also, check with the local building department: they may have additional requirements for demolishing structures.)

1. Obtain the summary results of the asbestos survey. The property owner or owner’s agent must have an AHERA-certified building inspector survey the structure for asbestos and communicate the results to you and to anyone who may come in contact with the material. Please keep a copy of the survey at the project site.

2. File an Asbestos/Demolition Notification. Regardless of whether any asbestos is identified, an Asbestos/Demolition Notification and filing fee must be submitted to this agency before any friable asbestos removal or demolition begins. This applies to all structures, including mobile homes, with greater than 120 square feet of roof area. Make a copy of the Notification you submit and keep it available for inspection.

Asbestos/Demolition Notification

• Please refer to Regulation III, Section 4.03 for full details about notification and fees

3. Verify that all asbestos is properly removed. All friable asbestos-containing material must be removed prior to demolition. Nonfriable asbestos-containing material may be left in place during the demolition, provided it remains nonfriable, but must be promptly transferred to a disposal container with a sign identifying the material as “nonfriable asbestos waste".

The Washington Department of Labor & Industries has stricter asbestos removal and specific training requirements for those who come in contact with asbestos. Please contact them for assistance or call 1-800-547-8367

4. Properly dispose of the asbestos. Take friable asbestos-containing waste to an Asbestos disposal facility authorized to receive the waste. Complete and bring an Asbestos Waste Material Shipment Record to dispose of the friable asbestos waste at the disposal site. Nonfriable asbestos-containing waste must be promptly transferred to a disposal container labeled "nonfriable asbestos waste." Please contact your local disposal company for further instructions.

5. Demolish the structure. You must wait 10 days after filing an Asbestos/Demolition Notification to demolish the structure, whether or not there is an asbestos project

For more information: E-mail: asbestos@pscleanair.org  Tel: 206.689.4058​​

Contractor Renovation
Contractors who remove or handle asbestos must be certified by the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (L&I). Before beginning any renovation project, you must check for asbestos and follow the procedures below. Failure to do so can result in life-threatening conditions and/or you receiving a notice of violations and monetary penalties.

1. Conduct an asbestos survey.

If you live in and own the single family house to be remodeled, you may conduct your own survey to identify asbestos-containing materials. In all other situations, an AHERA-certified building inspector must conduct a survey. These inspectors are listed in the phone book yellow pages under “Asbestos Consulting and Testing.”

A summary of the survey results must be communicated to you, your workers, and anyone else who may come in contact with the material to be disturbed. Keep a copy of the survey at the project site.

Share the survey results with anyone who may come in contact with the material to be disturbed and keep a copy of the survey on site.

Asbestos survey Guidance (PDF 0.2MB)

2. If asbestos is found, there are three options:

A. Leave it alone. Asbestos becomes a health risk if it is disturbed or deteriorating and fibers are released into the air. It may be possible to work around the asbestos during the renovation without disturbing it.

B. Repair or encapsulate. You may re-seal or encapsulate the asbestos in its location and without notifying our agency if it is not disturbed.

Sometimes, asbestos can be repaired rather than removed. This is basically a process of securely re-sealing asbestos in its location. For example, a few inches of torn, loose, or frayed asbestos tape wrap on heating ducts can be repaired with duct tape. Damaged hot water pipe insulation can be covered with a specially designed fabric available at safety equipment stores.

Some asbestos applications that are in good condition can be encapsulated to reduce the likelihood of asbestos fibers releasing into the air. Encapsulation is the best option when dealing with insulation on heating systems. There are two types of encapsulants:

Penetrating encapsulants are products that seep into asbestos-containing materials and bond with asbestos fibers securing them in place. They have little impact on the outward appearance of treated materials.

Bridging encapsulants are products, such as paint, that coat asbestos-containing materials. They are most commonly used to encapsulate popcorn ceiling and furnace and heat duct insulation.

Be aware, however, that while encapsulation may seem like an attractive option, especially for furnace ducts or popcorn ceilings, there may be less obvious costs and risks involved. For example, painting to encapsulate may make future removal much more difficult and expensive. Also, popcorn applications that become too heavy with added encapsulant product, or through water da mange, may fall off the ceiling in clumps, possibly releasing asbestos fibers.

C. Remove it.

Friable asbestos must be removed by a certified asbestos abatement contractor, unless the project is at a single-family house that the owner occupies. This is the only exception where the owner/resident may legally remove asbestos-containing materials. When removing friable asbestos-containing materials, follow Regulation III, Section 4.05 (b) “Friable Asbestos Removal Work Practices” and 4.07 “Disposal of Asbestos Containing Waste Material”.

An Asbestos/Demolition Notification and filing fee must be submitted to this agency before friable asbestos-containing material is removed. Depending on the size of the asbestos project, a 10 day waiting period may be required. Remember to make a copy of the Notification you submit available for inspection

Asbestos/Demolition Notification.

• Please refer to Regulation III, Section 4.03 for full details about notification and fees.

Exception: Notification is not required for friable asbestos projects involving less than 10 linear feet of pipe or 48 square feet of surface area (per structure and calendar year).

Nonfriable asbestos must be removed and disposed of in accordance with Regulation III, Section 4.05 (c) “Method of Removal for Non-friable Asbestos-Containing Material” and does not require an Asbestos/Demolition Notification.

3. Properly dispose of any removed asbestos. Take friable asbestos-containing waste to Asbestos Disposal Waste Facility authorized to receive the waste. Complete and bring an Asbestos waste material shipment record to dispose of the friable asbestos waste at the disposal site. Nonfriable asbestos-containing waste must be promptly transferred to a disposal container labeled "nonfriable asbestos waste. Please contact your local disposal company for further instructions.

For more information:

• E-mail: asbestos@pscleanair.org

• Tel: 206.689.4058

 

 File a Notification

 
 

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