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Asbestos regulations streamlined in flooded areas

  • 5/2/2019 11:23:00 AM
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DES MOINES -- The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is providing flexibility on some asbestos requirements while still protecting public health in flood damaged areas. Working with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the DNR is reducing some asbestos reporting deadlines and providing options for asbestos inspections for renovation projects.

Renovations or demolitions of institutional, commercial, public or industrial installations or buildings, and residential buildings demolished or renovated as part of a commercial, public, industrial or institutional project are subject to asbestos regulations. Examples include demolishing residential houses for construction of roads, parking lots, apartments, commercial buildings or the demolishing of flood damaged homes as a FEMA, county, or city project.

Due to the immediate need for entities to begin the cleanup process, the DNR will not require the ten day waiting period on notifications for asbestos abatement, renovation, and demolition projects. However, the notification is required to be submitted no later than the work day following the start of the abatement, renovation, or demolition. In addition, entities will have the option to forgo the asbestos inspection requirement for renovations if all the material being disturbed is treated as asbestos containing material regardless of whether the material contains asbestos or not. This flexibility is being provided for structures impacted by the flooding in the counties under a disaster declaration by the President of the United States. All other asbestos requirements remain in effect.

The DNR and EPA issued an Asbestos Authorization and No Action Assurance to provide this regulatory relief associated with the recent flooding of a number of Iowa communities. For additional information see the DNR Asbestos Authorization and the EPA No Action Assurance that further describes the flexibility being granted and specific requirements. The documents can be viewed at DNR’s website

Airborne asbestos fibers, which may be released during renovation and demolition of buildings with products that contain the mineral asbestos, expose people in the vicinity to a potential health risk. Breathing air that contains asbestos fibers can cause the fibers to become embedded in lung tissue and over time may cause serious lung diseases including asbestosis, lung cancer or mesothelioma.

The EPA developed regulations to prevent the generation of airborne asbestos during demolition and renovation projects and protect individuals from asbestos hazards. The regulations are located at 40 CFR 61.145 and 61.150 and can be viewed at DNR’s website

Asbestos has been used in a large number of building materials such as floor tile, linoleum, pipe and boiler insulation, heat duct wrap and joint tape, cementitious transite or slate siding and roofing, asphalt-based roofing and asphalt shingles, ceiling tiles, joint compound, sprayed-on acoustical, decorative texturing and other materials. Asbestos continues to be used in new construction and can be present in any building or home. 

For questions on the asbestos regulations, contact Tom Wuehr at 515-725-9576 or Nathan Stueve at 515-725-9581.