Asbestos - FAQ
(From the Florida Department of Environmental Protection)
Why are asbestos surveys required by law?
The Clean Air Act (CAA) requires the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop and enforce regulations to protect the general public from exposure to airborne contaminants that are known to be hazardous to human health. In accordance with Section 112 of the CAA, EPA established National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) to protect the public. Asbestos was one of the first hazardous air pollutants regulated under Section 112. On March 31, 1971, EPA identified asbestos as a hazardous pollutant, and on April 6, 1973, EPA first promulgated the Asbestos NESHAP in 40 CFR Part 61. In 1982, EPA delegated primary authority for the implementation and enforcement of the Asbestos NESHAP to the State of Florida.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) administers an asbestos removal program under Chapter 62-257, Florida Administrative Code. The Asbestos NESHAP has been adopted by reference in section 62-204.800, Florida Administrative Code.
The program’s intent is to minimize the release of asbestos fibers during activities involving the processing, handling, and disposal of asbestos-containing material. Accordingly, the Asbestos NESHAP specifies work practices to be followed during demolitions and renovations of all structures, installations, and buildings (excluding residential buildings that have four or fewer dwelling units). In addition, the regulations require the owner of the building and/or the operator to notify the applicable DEP District Office or Local Pollution Control Agency before any demolition, or before renovations of buildings that contain a certain threshold amount of asbestos or asbestos containing materials.
Asbestos-containing material (ACM) is material containing more than one percent asbestos as determined using the methods specified in appendix E, subpart E, 40 CFR part 763, section 1, Polarized Light Microscopy. The Asbestos NESHAP classifies ACM as either "friable" or "non-friable". Friable ACM is ACM that, when dry, can be crumbled, pulverized or reduced to powder by hand pressure. Non-friable ACM is ACM that, when dry, cannot be crumbled, pulverized or reduced to powder by hand pressure. Non-friable ACM is further classified as either Category I ACM or Category II ACM. Category I ACM and Category II ACM are distinguished from each other by their potential to release fibers when damaged. The applicability of the Asbestos NESHAP to Category I and II ACM depends on: (1) the condition of the material at the time of demolition or renovation, (2) the nature of the operation to which the material will be subjected, (3) the amount of ACM involved.
If the coverage threshold for RACM is met or exceeded in a renovation or demolition operation, then all friable ACM in the operation, and in certain situations non-friable ACM in the operation, are subject to the NESHAP.
What is the purpose of the Asbestos NESHAP regulation?
As stated above, the purpose is to protect the public health by minimizing the release of asbestos when facilities, which contain asbestos-containing materials (ACMs), are demolished or renovated.
What is a "facility?"
As defined in the regulation, a "facility" is any institutional, commercial, public, industrial or residential structure, installation or building (including any structure, installation or building containing condominiums, or individual dwelling units, operated as a residential cooperative, but excluding residential buildings having four or fewer dwelling units); any ship; or any active or inactive waste disposal site. Any building, structure or installation that contains a loft used as a dwelling is not considered residential. Any structure, installation, or building that was previously subject to the Asbestos NESHAP is not excluded, regardless of its current use or function.
In what instances is an asbestos inspection required?
The Asbestos NESHAP requires a thorough inspection for the presence of asbestos prior to the start of all renovations and/or demolitions of any “facility”.
What asbestos-containing materials are regulated under the Asbestos NESHAP?
ACM regulated under the NESHAP is referred to as "regulated asbestos-containing material" (RACM). RACM is defined in 40 CFR 61.141 of the NESHAP and includes: (1) friable asbestos-containing material; (2) Category I non-friable ACM that has become friable; (3) Category I non-friable ACM that has been or will be sanded, ground, cut, or abraded; or (4) Category II non-friable ACM that has already been or is likely to become crumbled, pulverized, or reduced to powder.
Are facilities constructed in the past 10 years subject to the asbestos regulations?
Yes. There is no exclusion date in the asbestos regulations for facilities constructed in the past 10 years.
If I renovate several two-family units, are the units defined as a "facility?"
Residential buildings which have four or fewer dwelling units are not considered "facilities" unless they are part of a larger installation (for example, an army base, company housing, apartment or housing complex, part of a group of houses subject to condemnation for a highway right-of-way, an apartment which is an integral part of a commercial facility, etc.).
Are mobile homes or mobile structures regulated by the Asbestos NESHAP?
Mobile homes used as single-family dwellings are not subject to Asbestos NESHAP unless part of a larger installation. Mobile structures used for non-residential purposes are subject to NESHAP.
Are Federal facilities regulated by the Asbestos NESHAP?
Are single-family private residences regulated by the Asbestos NESHAP?
What is a renovation?
A renovation is altering a facility or one or more facility components in any way, including the stripping or removal of Regulated Asbestos Containing Materials (RACM) from a facility component. A renovation could be, but not limited to, any interior renovation or remodel not affecting load-supporting structural members or a roof replacement.
What is a demolition?
A demolition means the wrecking or taking out of any load-supporting structural member of a facility together with any related handling operations or the intentional burning (i.e. practice burns) of any facility.
Is roofing work classified as a renovation or a demolition?
Normally, roofing work with ACM is classified as a renovation in the Asbestos NESHAP. If roofing work involves wrecking or taking out load-supporting structural members, then the work would be classified as a demolition. Also see Roofing FAQ.
How much asbestos must be present before the Asbestos NESHAP work practice standards apply to renovation projects?
Asbestos NESHAP regulations must be followed for all renovations of facilities with at least 80 linear meters (260 linear feet) of regulated asbestos-containing materials (RACM) on pipes, or 15 square meters (160 square feet) of regulated asbestos-containing materials on other facility components, or at least one cubic meter (35 cubic feet) off facility components where the amount of RACM previously removed from pipes and other facility components could not be measured before stripping. These amounts are known as the "threshold" amounts.
How much asbestos must be present before the Asbestos NESHAP work practice standards apply to demolition projects?
Asbestos NESHAP regulations must be followed for demolitions of facilities with at least 80 linear meters (260 linear feet) of regulated asbestos-containing materials (RACM) on pipes, 15 square meters (160 square feet) of regulated asbestos-containing materials on other facility components, or at least one cubic meter (35 cubic feet) off facility components where the amount of RACM previously removed from pipes and other facility components could not be measured before stripping. However, all demolitions must notify the appropriate regulatory agency, even if no asbestos is present at the site, and all demolitions and renovations are "subject" to the Asbestos NESHAP insofar as owners and operators must determine if and how much asbestos is present at the site.
How much asbestos must be present before the Asbestos NESHAP work practice standards apply to roofing projects?
When a rotating blade (RB) roof cutter or equipment that similarly damages the roofing material is used to remove Category I non-friable asbestos-containing roofing material, the removal of 5580 ft2 or more of asbestos-containing roofing material will create at least 160 ft2 of RACM and is subject to the NESHAP. If the removed material is less than 5580 ft2 then the removal is not subject to the NESHAP, except that notification is always required for demolitions.
When the removal of Category II non-friable asbestos-containing roofing material is at least 160 ft2 and the removal methods will crumble, pulverize, reduce to powder, or contaminate with other RACM, the removal is subject to the NESHAP.
When the total asbestos-containing roof area undergoing renovation is less than 160 ft2, the NESHAP does not apply, regardless of the removal method to be used, the type of material (Category I or II), or its condition (friable versus non-friable), except that notification is always required for demolitions.
Am I required to submit a notification form for a demolition project when no asbestos is present?
Yes. All demolitions must have notifications submitted to the appropriate DEP District Office or Local Pollution Control Agency. See more questions regarding notification below.
Are homes that are demolished or renovated to build non-residential structures regulated by the Asbestos NESHAP?
Yes. For example, the Asbestos NESHAP regulates multiple residential structures that are demolished as part of an urban renewal project, a highway construction project, or a project to develop a shopping mall. A single home which is converted into a non-residential structure is also regulated by the Asbestos NESHAP. For example, if someone buys a house and converts it into a store, the renovation is subject to the Asbestos NESHAP.
What is encapsulation, and is it regulated by the Asbestos NESHAP?
Encapsulation is the application of a material with a sealant to stop it from releasing fibers. Normally, the Asbestos NESHAP does not regulate encapsulation unless it involves removing or stripping asbestos. However, if encapsulation is done using methods that damage asbestos and release fibers it would be covered. For example, high pressure spraying to apply encapsulant could damage asbestos. Also, if friable RACM is encapsulated, the RACM is still covered by the Asbestos NESHAP if renovation or demolition occurs.
What is a notification?
A notification is a written notice of intent to renovate or demolish. Notifications must contain certain specified information, including but not limited to, the scheduled starting and completion date of the work, the location of the site, the names of operators or asbestos removal contractors, methods of removal and the amount of asbestos, and whether the operation is a demolition or renovation. See Section 61.145(b) of the Asbestos NESHAP regulation.
Whom do I notify?
You should notify the DEP District Office or Local Pollution Control Agency in your area of the demolition or renovation operations subject to NESHAP. See contact information for proper submittal of notification form.
How do I notify?
The completed notification form may be submitted by mail, hand or commercial delivery service to the appropriate DEP District Office or Local Pollution Control Agency.
Who is responsible for submitting a notification -- the owner of the building, which is being demolished or renovated, or the contractor?
The NESHAP regulation states that either the owner of the building or operator of the demolition or renovation operation can submit the notification. Usually, the two parties decide together who will notify. If no adequate notice is provided, one or both parties can be held liable.
When a condominium complex is being renovated, who as owner, is responsible for submitting a notification?
While owners and operators share responsibility for proper notification, the condominium or co-op board is responsible as the owner. The board should ensure that they are told when work takes place on individual units, so that they can comply with notification requirements, especially if multiple operators are involved.
Is there a form for notifications?
Yes, there is a form for notification. You can obtain a form, and instructions on how to fill it out, from your DEP District Office or Local Pollution Control Agency or online at http://www.dep.state.fl.us/air/forms/asbestos.htm#asbestos
When I notify regarding a renovation, what date do I consider the start date?
For a renovation, the start date is the day that the removal of asbestos-containing material, or any other asbestos-handling activities, including precleaning, construction of containment, or other activities that could disturb the asbestos, will begin.
When I notify regarding a demolition, do I give the start date of the demolition or of the asbestos removal? Which date do I use to determine whether I've met the 10-day waiting period?
For a demolition, the start date is the date that the removal or any removal related activity begins. The date the demolition starts also must be reported. The waiting period should be calculated based on the start date of the removal or if no removal is required then the start date of the demolition. The waiting period is necessary to give inspectors time to visit the site before activity begins.
Can a demolition and a renovation be notified on the same notification form?
Yes. The notification form should include information for both the renovation and demolition. For example, start/finish dates, contractors, waste disposal site(s), etc.
Does the 10-day notification requirement refer to "calendar" days or "working" days?
The asbestos regulations specify "working days." A “working day” is Monday through Friday and includes holidays that fall on any of the days Monday through Friday.
Is the 10 working days in the waiting period ever reduced?
No. The reduction of the waiting period is not allowed in the asbestos regulations.
Is the 10-day waiting period required on all asbestos projects?
No. An emergency renovation is the only project where the 10-day waiting period is not required for notification.
What constitutes an emergency renovation?
An emergency renovation is a renovation that was not planned, but results from a sudden, unexpected event that either immediately produces unsafe conditions, or that, if not quickly remedied, could be reasonably foreseen to result in an unsafe or detrimental effect on health or is necessary to protect equipment and avoid unreasonable financial burden. The term includes renovations necessitated by non-routine equipment failures. For example, the explosion of a boiler in a chemical plant might require emergency renovations, since such an explosion would disrupt normal operations. However, renovations involving routine repairs are not emergencies.
Under what conditions must I notify for emergency renovations? When must I notify?
First, inspect the facility and determine the amount of RACM that may have to be removed or disturbed to repair the facility. (If you don't have the time to have samples analyzed, you should assume that all insulation is RACM.) Then, if the amount of RACM is in excess of the threshold amount, you should mail or deliver a notification as soon as possible, but certainly no later than the following workday. A notification, which is postmarked more than one working day after the emergency, will be considered in violation of the notification requirements. DEP recommends that you send the notice by overnight express mail, and that you phone in a notification as well to the DEP District Office or Local Pollution Control Agency.
Does the Asbestos NESHAP require a building owner or operator to remove damaged or deteriorating asbestos-containing material?
No. Not unless a renovation of the facility is planned which would disturb the ACM and it exceeds the threshold amount.
If a facility is being demolished under an order of a State or local government because the facility is structurally unsound, and therefore unsafe, do all the normal regulations covering demolitions apply?
No. The applicable regulations are specified in section 61.145 (a)(3) of 40 CFR subpart M (Asbestos NESHAP).
What is friable asbestos-containing material?
Friable ACM is any material containing more than one percent asbestos (as determined by Polarized Light Microscopy) that, when dry, may be crumbled, pulverized, or reduced to powder by hand pressure.
What is non-friable ACM?
Non-friable ACM is any material containing more than one percent asbestos (as determined by Polarized Light Microscopy) that, when dry, cannot be crumbled, pulverized, or reduced to powder by hand pressure. Under the Asbestos NESHAP, non-friable ACM is divided into two categories. Category I non-friable ACM are asbestos-containing resilient floor coverings (commonly known as vinyl asbestos tile (VAT)), asphalt roofing products, packings and gaskets. These materials rarely become friable. All other non-friable ACM are considered category II non-friable ACM.
Does the NESHAP regulation require air monitoring during renovation or removal?
What is a bulk sample?
A bulk sample is a solid quantity of insulation, floor tile, building material, etc., that is suspected of containing asbestos fibers that will be analyzed for the presence and quantity of asbestos.
Will DEP test my building for asbestos for me?
No. Owners and operators are responsible for getting their buildings tested.
Does an inspector have the right to enter any facility and the containment area?
Yes. Inspectors have the right under the section 403.091 Florida Statutes to inspect a facility to determine compliance with applicable regulations. Inspectors are trained and equipped to do this safely. Contact your DEP District Office or Local Pollution Control Agency for more details on this subject.
Is visible asbestos-containing debris on the ground outside a removal job considered a "visible emission," and a violation of the NESHAP?
Yes. Dry friable asbestos insulation on the ground violates the "adequately wet" requirement, and can be considered evidence of a visible emission.
Is it appropriate for an inspector to open any bags outside the designated contaminated area?
Yes. The inspector may open any bags outside the designated contaminated area to inspect them. The inspector may use a glovebag or other control techniques. The inspector will then properly reseal the bag, or request that the operator do so.
Must an inspector witness improper removal of more than 160 square feet or 260 linear feet of asbestos-containing material to prove a violation of the NESHAP regulation?
No. First, the inspector must gather information about the quantity of asbestos to prove that the project is subject to the NESHAP standards. Second, the inspector must prove that there has been improper removal. The two tasks are distinct from each other.
Do inspectors need to follow facility training requirements including fit testing?
If I have asbestos renovation or demolition questions, whom should I contact?
Please contact Air Quality Environmental (727) 398-0900, Customerservice@AirQualityEnvironmental.com or the DEP District Office or Local Pollution Control Agency in your area to answer any asbestos-related questions.