In order to better understand the expanded regulations regarding the disposal of asbestos containing materials and what compliance with new rules would mean for our industry, the HBA hosted a round table attended by HBA members, Portland Metro Staff and DEQ staff. HBA requested that Portland Metro develop a guide and set of standards to be implemented across both transfer stations and that can be shared with workers gathering materials and delivering them to the stations to ensure compliance.
Hosted at the Home Builder’s Association of Metropolitan Portland offices, staff and members of the remodeling and construction communities met with representatives from Portland Metro Council to discuss the upcoming rule changes for disposal of Asbestos-containing materials at Metro Transfer stations. The discussion centered around a new list of suspect asbestos containing materials (ACM) that require lab analysis prior to being delivered to either of the two Metro transfer stations. This list becomes effective April 1, 2017.
In the meeting, the group was reminded that DEQ is responsible for licensing solid waste management facilities and Metro transfer stations are simply not licensed to accept ACM. It is therefore incumbent on Metro to set guidelines to ensure they don’t end up with asbestos containing materials “on the floor” of the transfer station. If ACM is discovered after the load has been dumped, removal is accomplished by licensed abatement personnel and the responsible party is charged for cleaning up the mess they created, as well as potentially being fined for doing so.
The roundtable meeting had originally been requested a couple of weeks ago, when drywall was added to the list of suspect ACM that required testing. As the meeting opened, we learned that DEQ and Metro had already removed this material from the list based on feedback and analysis encouraged by our industry related to this material. So, we started the conversation on a very positive note.
As the discussion continued, it became clear that there are items on the new list for which additional guidance is necessary. Specifically, those items fall into the broad category of “Various compounds,” which include window glazing, cements, adhesives, caulks, patching and vapor barrier products. Other than window glazing, nobody from DEQ or Metro could provide any guidance on what products would be in the other groupings. They agreed that compliance and enforcement would both be difficult until a better definition of terms was available to the industry and to the bay spotters. The complete list of suspect ACM is found here.
Also, in the new list, under the heading of “Roofing,” are tar paper and felt. This started a conversation about new versus old products. Since it is impossible to determine whether a building material has been removed as part of the demo phase of a renovation project or is the residual from new construction, the question left unanswered was, “How do we demonstrate that a brand new building material brought to the transfer station is asbestos free?” We were assured that DEQ and Metro would work together to help resolve this issue.
We found that there is still work to be done around implementation and establishing specific standards when materials actually reach the transfer stations but regulators are now actively engaged with their customers to determine what the questions are and to provide answers prior to implementation of any new rules. Moving forward the HBA, Portland and DEQ have agreed to continue to meet so that the drafting and implementation of these new standards can be done to the best of their ability.
The HBA will continue to update our membership at large during this process, including directly as well as continued engagement of our HBA Professional Remodelers Organization (PRO), and we encourage members to contact James Adkins at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or concerns regarding this issue.