by Cheney Hines
One of the biggest mistakes that contractors often make when dealing with asbestos is assuming that National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants, or NESHAP, do not apply to them because of the jurisdiction in which the project falls, the number of workers on a job or other factors that come into play during the removal process. These are myths, and it is important to understand the requirements of NESHAP regulations when engaging in abatement processes.
What is NESHAP?
NESHAP is a set of standards established by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to control airborne and environmental hazards that can affect air quality. These standards are in place to protect people from toxic and hazardous materials in the air.
Asbestos has been widely used in construction for decades, and it is likely that any building built before 1980 has asbestos somewhere in the construction. Even into the 1990s, this material was used. When asbestos dries and flakes, the particles and fibers in the air can cause many illnesses including cancer and emphysema.
Mistakes Contractors Make
Contractors often make the big mistake of assuming that NESHAP rules don’t apply to them when engaging in asbestos abatement. These assumptions arise from misconceptions and myths such as believing that if they are the only contractor or there is no asbestos present, they do not have to file a plan of demolition.
Other myths include the belief that asbestos has been banned as a construction material (it has not), or that the project falls under city jurisdiction so county and federal regulations do not attach (also untrue).
Regulated properties refer to those structures that fall under NESHAP rules for controlling air quality hazards. These structures include all public, industrial, commercial and institutional facilities. These include residential facilities including apartments, town houses and condo buildings that contain more than four units.
Regulations also cover pipelines, bridges and freestanding dwellings that involve more than two units. Any demolitions or renovation involving friable asbestos that covers more than 160 square feet, 35 cubic feet or 260 linear feet are covered under these regulations. In regulated properties, all building materials are assumed to contain asbestos and to be potentially hazardous.
The first step in determining if a property qualifies under these regulations is examination by an AHERA-certified building inspector. These experts can survey the structure and building materials to determine if regulation attaches, and an inspection can be undertaken up to one year before renovation or demolition begins.
The Abatement Company
When choosing a contractor for your asbestos removal procedures, it is vital to hire one who understands the requirements for handling regulated properties and has the expertise, training and experience to deal with any issues that crop up. A qualified asbestos abatement company will have established policies and procedures for safely and thoroughly cleaning up, removing and disposing of dangerous materials including asbestos.
If you are planning a demolition or renovation project in your building and you believe that it may be a regulated property, take a look at our asbestos removal process and contact us for a consultation and evaluation today.