Asbestos is widely used in many building materials due to its exceptional heat resistance and binding properties. It is also considered a practical component for floor tile, roofing and flashing, bricks, pipes, insulation, and asbestos concrete.
However, the process of removing asbestos exposes people to asbestos fibers that pose significant health hazards. These fibers can cause asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma. Thus, understanding careful and proper asbestos removal steps is critical to avoid asbestos-related diseases.
This article will walk you through the asbestos abatement process and explain why hiring asbestos professionals is essential.
What Is the Asbestos Abatement Process?
Asbestos abatement removes or reduces the harmful effects of asbestos. It usually starts with inspecting materials for the presence of asbestos before assessing the associated danger level. This process does not always require removal when the asbestos is untouched and intact. However, it is crucial to properly abate the material if there is a significant risk present.
The process of asbestos abatement includes the following steps:
1. Preparing the Work Area
The affected area must be closed off with barricades to keep people away, and the workers must implement warning signs. In addition, specialists must seal all air ducts, turn off HVAC systems, and install airtight plastic barriers and high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtration blowers. These procedures will keep asbestos fibers from contaminating the environment outside the affected area while creating negative pressure within the compartment. Also, air monitors must be installed to determine the concentration of fibers in the air during the process of removing asbestos.
2. Removing the Asbestos Material
The experts will remove the asbestos-containing materials with a hand tool or wet methods before being bagged and prepared for proper disposal. Alternative approaches, such as encapsulating and containing asbestos fibers in an impenetrable jacket or wrap, may also be used. However, a complete removal is strongly advised to reduce the likelihood of future complications.
3. Cleanup and Air Testing
After removing a significant portion of the contamination, the work area will undergo a fine cleaning process. First, an encapsulant will be applied to surfaces to trap microscopic particles or fibers that might remain in the air. Asbestos removal experts will then use HEPA vacuums to re-clean the space before testing the surrounding air for asbestos residue.
HEPA vacuuming is used in asbestos removal steps to reduce fiber dispersal and clean surfaces.
Once asbestos residue presence is ruled out, abatement contractors will take the contaminated material to a designated disposal site while following the region’s protocols for properly removing asbestos waste.
When the work area is cleared, the workers will remove the barriers and prepare the site for re-occupation. Finally, the abatement contractor will provide waste shipment records, permits, licensing copies, inspection results, and laboratory analysis reports to ensure compliance with environmental standards.
Why Is It Important To Hire Asbestos Professionals?
Improper asbestos handling can result in health-threatening exposure. This is one of the main reasons only asbestos abatement professionals must manage, remove, and dispose of asbestos-contaminated materials. Professionals and experts should properly close off affected areas, clean up equipment, test the air, and dispose of the material to minimize the risk of exposure to harmful substances.
Another reason is that different laws and government agencies regulate the handling of asbestos. These include the following:
Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA)
The AHERA is an Environmental Protection Agency regulation requiring institutions such as schools to inspect facilities and establishments for the presence of asbestos-containing material. It also aims to establish plans to minimize health risks posed by the material.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Regulations
OSHA regulations protect workers from asbestos exposure above a specific limit. The Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) for asbestos is 0.1 fiber per cc. This limit means that workers’ exposure to asbestos must not exceed 0.1 f/cc of air in an average of over 8-hour work shifts.
Asbestos National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP)
The asbestos NESHAP regulations require work practices to be observed during demolitions and renovations of all structures, installations, and buildings. These buildings exclude residential ones that have four or fewer dwelling units. The regulation also requires the building owner or operator to alert the appropriate state agency before demolishing or renovating buildings that may contain a certain amount of asbestos.
Furthermore, certain manufacturing and fabrication operations are either prohibited from emitting visible emissions into the outside air or must adhere to air cleaning procedures. This regulation also includes specific requirements for asbestos-containing waste removal.
Waco’s Safe and Effective Asbestos Abatement Services
As certified asbestos abatement contractors, Waco is dedicated to meeting our customer’s needs securely and effectively. We guarantee that all processes follow all local, state, and federal regulations and guidelines.
Our company currently provides asbestos removal services in Virginia, including Richmond, Northern Virginia, Norfolk, Hampton, Roanoke, Virginia Beach, and Harrisonburg. We also cater to abatement needs in Washington, DC and a wide range of locations in the Mid-Atlantic region.