Asbestos – It’s all about your health
We are pleased to be working with our media partner, KXLY, to educate the community about asbestos and the importance of reducing uncontrolled asbestos disturbances that can occur during home improvement and repair projects.
Spring is a time when many people start tackling those home improvement projects. With more people at home right now, this may be more timely than ever. Each week we’ll focus on a specific asbestos-related topic and provide additional resources:
Week 4, May 3-9: What should I/my company be aware of if hired to work on a house or building?
Week 4: What should I be aware of if hired to work on a house or building?
If you are hired by a property owner or other entity to work on renovation or demolition of a structure (regardless of the age of the structure) familarize yourself with the asbestos requirements in Spokane County.
Contractors – What you need to know
As a contractor, you must ensure that federal, state and local asbestos laws are adhered to when planning renovation and demolition activities. Laws exist to reduce exposure to asbestos, a known human carcinogen.
Everybody is Responsible
General contractors, sub-contractors, tradespersons, property owners… anyone associated with the project may be held responsible for improper asbestos management. Never assume someone else took care of it. Avoid project delays for unplanned asbestos abatement projects. Include the cost of proper asbestos management in your project planning. Make sure asbestos requirements are met before you begin your work.
Asbestos Survey Required
An asbestos survey must be conducted by an AHERA Building Inspector prior to renovation or demolition activities. A copy of the survey must be posted at all times and in a readily accessible, visible area at the work site. If it is not practical to post the survey in this manner, it must be made readily available for inspection by Spokane Clean Air and all persons at the work site.
Again, if you are impacting existing construction in any way (e.g. renovation, demolition, repair, etc.) an asbestos survey is required before you begin work. The only exception is to assume the building materials are asbestos-containing and act accordingly by hiring professionals. Surveys must be performed by a properly trained and certified individual. Only samples collected by an AHERA certified building inspector meet the requirements so collecting your own samples, simply put waste your time, money and perhaps your health.
Removal – If Asbestos is found it must be removed by a certified asbestos abatement contractor prior to renovation, if it is likely to be disturbed during the renovation, and prior to any demolition. Refer to the Asbestos Removal Permit (NOI) information below.
Abestos Removal Permit (NOI) – A Notice of Intent (NOI) permit for asbestos removal must be submitted to Spokane Clean Air prior to removal if the amount of asbestos to be removed is 10 or more linear feet and/or 48 or more square feet, per structure, per calendar year. Fees typically start at $250 and increase based on the amount of asbestos being removed. The abatement contractor generally files the NOI, but the owner and owner’s agents should request a copy. Here is a link to more detailed information.
Disposal of asbestos-containing-waste-material (ACWM) must also be done according to requirements. ACWM is packaged and transported in leak tight containers to designated landfills. Graham Road Landfill located in Airway Heights is a designated facility for accepting ACWM. A waste manifest must be generated prior to transporting any ACWM. The asbestos abatement professionals must obtain a signed waste manifest by the owner or operator of the disposal site. Owner/Operators may want to request copies of the signed manifests for their records.
Recap of Asbestos Work Practices
- Work that will disturb asbestos containing material must be performed by properly certified workers.
- The use of approved work practices is required to prevent the release of asbestos fibers into the air.
- Access to the work areas must be controlled with specific signs containing warnings about asbestos health hazards.
- Only certified asbestos workers may pass beyond the controlled area.
- Control measures used to reduce and prevent the release of asbestos fibers include Engineering Controls, Work Practice Controls and Administrative Controls. Work areas must be contained to restrict the release of asbestos outside of the area.
- Clean-up of all asbestos containing waste material and air monitoring must occur before access restrictions are removed.
- There are also specific requirements for storage and disposal of asbestos containing waste material.
For more information or assistance, please visit our asbestos webpage or call Spokane Clean Air at (509) 477-4727.