Monday, December 17, 2012

EPA Guidance on Hurricane Debris and Homes - Asbestos Exposure

As per the USEPA website - specificaly for the 2005 Hurricane / Katrina - Federal asbestos regulations do not apply to the demolition of structurally unsound buildings by private individuals who contract directly with the demolition contractor for the demolition of a residential building they own having four or fewer units. However, EPA strongly recommends, for health reasons, that anyone conducting demolition activities follow this guidance.

Identifying Asbestos Containing Materials
Asbestos-containing products, which may be part of this debris, include: asbestos-cement corrugated sheet, asbestos-cement flat sheet, asbestos pipeline wrap, roofing felt, vinyl-asbestos floor tile, asbestos-cement shingle, millboard, asbestos-cement pipe, and vermiculite-attic insulation.
All structures (both residential and commercial) built before 1975 may contain significant amounts of asbestos. In particular large structures built before 1975 typically contain asbestos pipe wrap, siding, ceiling tiles, and other building materials high in asbestos content. Additionally, structures built after 1975 may also contain asbestos.

Notification and Expertise
Persons conducting demolitions should notify the appropriate state/local air quality management program as early as possible prior to the start of the demolition, but in any event, no later than the following workday after starting the demolition.
At least one person, either a government official or private contractor, trained in the asbestos NESHAP regulations should be on site or available by cell phone during the demolition to provide assistance and guidance.

In all instances, workers should use equipment specifically designed to protect them from asbestos exposures during demolition and handling of debris, especially respirators, as required under OSHA.
Heavy equipment that is used to demolish structures or that is run over debris from the hurricane will rupture the building materials and may cause asbestos to be released. Therefore, it is very important to wet the structure before demolition and keep the structure wet during demolition. Wetting the structure is crucial because it reduces the potential for air migration of asbestos.
EPA recommends knocking down each structure wall-by-wall, folding it in on itself to minimize excess breakage of asbestos containing material.

Keep the debris wetted and covered until it is possible to consult with the asbestos trained person to segregate out asbestos containing material to the extent feasible. If asbestos is known to be present but can not be safely segregated, dispose of all the debris as if it is asbestos containing materials as discussed below.

Removal of Asbestos Containing Material
After you have collapsed the structure, if feasible, place the asbestos containing material into leak proof wrapping. If the volume of the material precludes use of leak proof wrapping, continue to wet the asbestos containing material and use heavy lifting equipment to place the asbestos containing material into waiting dump trucks. Whenever possible, use a plastic liner in the bottom of the bed of the dump truck to minimize the leakage of contaminated water from the dump truck. If the asbestos containing material has been further broken up during the loading process, wet it down again after you load it into the dump truck.
Cover the dump truck with a tarp, sealing it so that debris and dust can not be released during transport.
Placard (with a large sign) the dump trucks as they are being loaded and unloaded with asbestos-containing building materials. The placard should read:
“Warning: Asbestos Hazard. Stay Away”

Disposal of Asbestos Containing Material
Truck the debris to a landfill allowed to receive asbestos. Contact state authorities for a list of asbestos approved landfills.
Maintain your waste shipment records.

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