Asbestos abatement is the process of removing asbestos-containing materials from homes and buildings. It should only be conducted by Asbestos Removal WA.
To begin the process, contractors must set up a containment area by sealing air ducts, disabling HVAC systems, and plasticizing rooms. Workers wear disposable suits, hoods, and shoes that reduce exposure to airborne asbestos fibers.
Asbestos is a dangerous material that should never be handled or moved by anyone without extensive training. It can be found in textured paint, floor and ceiling tiles, shingles, insulation and many other home and building materials. Although a number of do-it-yourself testing kits are available for asbestos detection, it’s always best to leave the detection and removal to professionals.
Professionals will first evaluate your space, draw up a removal plan that includes locations and timelines. They’ll also need to help evacuate your building’s residents and clients. Before beginning the work, they’ll seal off areas that don’t need to be removed with tarps and heavy-duty adhesives. This prevents asbestos dust from contaminating clean areas.
Once asbestos-free, the abatement company will dispose of the materials in accordance with local, state and federal laws. This may include sending the material to an accredited laboratory for analysis. Once the asbestos has been tested, it can be disposed of in a landfill that specifically accepts such waste. The company will wet the material before it is sealed in primary and secondary bags, tagged with identification and placed in a sealed, leak-proof container for transport to a designated site.
It is illegal to put any asbestos in the trash or dispose of it at home. To make sure that you don’t accidentally bring the asbestos into your home, you can purchase a special disposal container from most hardware and home improvement stores. These containers look very similar to large garbage cans, but are a bit taller and come with handles. The container should be labeled with a warning to keep out children and pets.
During the removal process, the asbestos abatement contractors will need access to water (a garden hose will do), clean buckets and fresh rags, a solid asbestos waste container, asbestos waste bags and specialized personal protective equipment. The experts will also need to cover all vents in the area and place warning notices and barricades around the work zone.
If the asbestos is slightly damaged, it may be safer to leave it alone and not disturb it. However, if you’re considering remodeling your property and think that some of the materials might contain asbestos, have them tested or encapsulated by a licensed professional.
A common misconception is that if you can’t remove asbestos it must be encapsulated, however this may not be the best option for all cases. It is important to note that both encapsulation and removal require an expert assessment. Encapsulation works well on ACMs in good condition that do not pose an immediate risk to people in a building, especially when removal is not practical or possible.
A professional asbestos contractor can determine whether encapsulation or removal is the better choice for your situation. It is important to consider that encapsulation can only be carried out on ACMs that are in stable condition and that have not become friable (easily crumbling). Encapsulation is often the safer option if your ACMs are likely to be disturbed in the future as this can prevent fibre release.
It can also be a more cost-effective option for larger or difficult to reach areas where abatement would be impractical or costly. It can also allow ACMs to remain in situ, which might be preferred for historic or aesthetically significant structures. It can also be carried out with minimal impact to occupants or business operations, making it an ideal choice for refurbishment work.
However, it is worth considering that encapsulated ACMs are still a potential health hazard and should be monitored and maintained to ensure they don’t deteriorate. This could involve regular inspections, air monitoring and re-application of the encapsulant. Additionally, if the ACM is over boarded it will still need to be labelled with asbestos warning labels to alert any future workers.
Encapsulation can also be a less attractive option in terms of appearance as it can leave the structure looking unsightly or ‘cracked’. It can also be difficult to carry out structural or renovation work around the encapsulated area, which is not always desirable. It is also important to remember that although encapsulation can be cheaper than removal, ongoing maintenance and inspections may add up over time. In addition, if the ACM needs to be re-encapsulated in the future, this will incur additional costs. Removal is more efficient and will also offer tax relief under qualifying circumstances.
If asbestos-containing materials are in good condition and haven’t been disturbed, they may be safe to leave undisturbed. However, homeowners should check these materials periodically for wear and tear or signs of moisture damage. If they are damaged, a professional inspection is recommended. If the material is found to be compromised, the best option may be encapsulation.
Asbestos abatement contractors are required to follow strict regulations during the removal process. These include wearing disposable suits, hoods, gloves and shoe covers to avoid contamination of other areas of the building. The contractor will also need to have a separate decontamination area where they can remove their protective equipment before entering occupied spaces.
Once the abatement work is complete, the contractor will need to use a HEPA vacuum to clean up the work area. They will also wet down surfaces to minimize the spread of asbestos fibers. The HVAC system must be disabled so air doesn’t circulate from the abatement area to occupied spaces. The area is then sealed with sheets of polyethylene film and duct tape. The contractor will use a “negative air” machine to draw air from the abatement area through a series of filters, including a HEPA filter. The negative air will then be exhausted outside of the abatement area. Air monitoring will then be done by a third-party firm to ensure the air quality in the abatement area has returned to normal.
A home owner should carefully research the asbestos abatement professionals available, paying close attention to services, safety practices and regulatory compliance. They should ask for references and a list of similar projects that the company has completed. The contractor should also have a general liability and workman’s compensation policy that covers this type of work. They should also have a good reputation in the local community.
Taking the time to find a qualified asbestos abatement contractor can prevent problems later on. Improper handling of asbestos can lead to serious diseases such as mesothelioma and lung cancer. While these conditions are treatable, they can be fatal if not caught in the early stages. Strict regulations exist to prevent do-it-yourselfers and unlicensed asbestos abatement companies from working on these dangerous materials.
Asbestos was incorporated into thousands of products, including building materials, auto parts and consumer items. Its fire-resistant and durable properties made it a popular additive to manufacturing processes from the 1930s to the mid-1970s. However, asbestos is dangerous and can cause cancer if exposed to high levels of fibres over long periods of time. This is why asbestos abatement is so important, as it ensures that any contaminated materials are removed properly and can’t be released into the air.
As a result of the dangers associated with asbestos, the federal government requires that buildings undergo an inspection before any renovation or demolition takes place. The inspection will check for asbestos, and if necessary, an abatement contractor can perform asbestos encapsulation or removal.
Before beginning any work, the abatement contractor will create a containment area and cover surfaces that are not being worked on with plastic sheeting. The contractors wear disposable suits, hoods, gloves, shoe covers and respirators, so that no contamination is brought outside of the abatement area. Then they vacuum the asbestos debris using a HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) vacuum, which ensures that no asbestos particles escape through the exhaust. After all the debris is collected, it’s sealed in leakproof containers while still wet and labeled. The containers are then taken away by licensed hazardous waste transporters to a landfill that accepts asbestos debris.
During the entire process, an air sampling professional will take samples to measure the concentration of asbestos in the air within and outside the abatement area. These air samples must be below the legal limit before the abatement area can be reoccupied. The air sampling professional will also conduct aggressive clearance testing at the end of the abatement procedure to verify that all levels of asbestos are well below acceptable limits.
An experienced asbestos abatement company can help you determine whether encapsulation or removal is the best option for your structure and then follow all of the state and federal regulations to complete the project. Contact today to find out more about how we can assist you with your next asbestos abatement project.