In general, when certified contractors remove asbestos the idea is to keep people safe by containing the area, minimizing the amount of material that becomes airborne and properly disposing of the asbestos containing material. Below are high level steps that are taken to remove asbestos containing materials. Federal and state regulations may vary the steps in certain circumstances and depending on the amount and types of materials require additional or less stringent controls.
The first step is to understand what material is asbestos containing and develop a plan to remove it. If the amount of material to be removed is greater than the trigger levels the project must be appropriately reviewed and permitted by the state.
Using certified workers and supervisors, a proper containment is built using poly sheeting around the area containing the material to be removed. This is done to ensure that while working asbestos fibers are not released into the surrounding environment. This containment includes access and egress points for personnel and the material that is removed. While removal is actively conducted in this containment, the workers are required to wear proper protective equipment, such as respirators and suits, to ensure they are exposed to minimal amounts of asbestos fibers. Additionally, the air from within the containment is filtered before being exhausted outside the containment. This technique constantly draws clean air in from outside the containment and filters the air in the work space. The differential in air pressure across the containment walls is constantly monitored and ensures that the asbestos fibers do not escape the containment.
While working on the removal of the asbestos material, the work space is constantly wetted down to reduce the amount of asbestos fibers that stay airborne. HEPA vacuums are also used to clean up fibers. The work space is constantly kept clean as removal is taking place. Each type of material to be removed must be approached in such a way to limit the amount of airborne fibers produced.
Throughout the project, visual inspections are coordinated with a third party agency. Also, air quality is constantly monitored both on the personnel conducting the work as well as background air. This is critical to ensure the safety of the workers as well as maintaining a safe environment surrounding the work area.
Once the work removing the asbestos material is complete and the appropriate inspections conducted, the containment is removed and all the waste is taken to a landfill that accepts asbestos material for disposal.
Quite a bit of training and experience is necessary to safely remove asbestos containing materials. The end result is a safer environment that has better air quality and is forever free from those materials that were removed.
My husband and I have a very old home that we need some work done in the attic for, and we’re fairly certain that there is asbestos in the insulation. It’s good to know what we should expect in terms of how it would be removed, and I’m relieved to hear that they would very securely contain the area to prevent asbestos contamination beyond the work zone. I can definitely see how it would take a lot of training to do a job like that, as you said, and I’m sure that the removal will go well.
My husband and I just moved into an older home, and we’re worried it may have asbestos in the the walls. Your article had some great information about a service that could help us remove this harmful substance, and I liked how you said that the work space during asbestos removal is constantly kept clean and airborne fibers are removed . Thanks; we’ll keep this in mind when choosing asbestos removal for our home.
Thank you for explaining how asbestos is removed. I didn’t know that the work space is constantly clean when the removal is happening. I’m kind of interested to learn if the area is also kept clear of objects so that there is less to keep clean.
If possible, all unnecessary belongings are removed from the containment. If there are items that can’t be moved, they are covered to protect them from the abatement process.
I never knew that an asbestos removal project had to be permitted by the state if it is greater than the trigger levels. I would imagine that it would be important to hire a professional restoration company to deal with asbestos as well. These companies would have the proper protective gear and need equipment to deal with the harmful substance.