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Section 5: Asbestos in Buildings

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Overview

The National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Pollutants (NESHAP) requires an inspection for asbestos prior to renovation or demolition of buildings. If the inspection reveals regulated asbestos containing material (RACM) in excess of action levels of 260 linear feet of pipe insulation or 150 square feet of surfacing material the asbestos must be removed or stabilized by a licensed abatement contractor prior to demolition. Asbestos containing material is considered to be regulated if (1) it contains greater than one percent asbestos, and (2) is friable (easily crumbled), or will become friable under conditions of demolition.

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Management

Pre-demolition asbestos management begins with an inspection for asbestos. If the quantity of RACM exceeds NESHAP action levels, the following regulated sequence of events, each performed by contractors licensed by the Texas Department of Health (TDH), must occur:

  • Abatement planning (incorporating the data collected during the inspection);
  • Ten day advanced notification to the appropriate regulatory agency;
  • Abatement and air monitoring; and
  • Reporting.

TxDOT surplus and salvage property procedures entail transferring the title to buildings and other improvements to the salvage contractor before demolition. However, TDH will not necessarily recognize the severability of improvements from the land and may consider TxDOT liable for the salvage contractor's non-compliance with NESHAP requirements.

To avoid potential liability for violations of NESHAP requirements by the salvage contractor, contract for asbestos inspection, abatement planning, notification, air and water monitoring, and reporting. Include the abatement plan (i.e., specification) in the bid package for the salvage contract. The salvage contractor must subcontract abatement activities using the specification developed by TxDOT's asbestos contractor.

In most cases, cost recovery from the former property owner for asbestos abatement is not possible because the requirement for abatement is triggered by demolition of the building before construction. Therefore, the abatement is classified as preventative action instead of corrective action.

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