Asbestos Disposal

Before an asbestos abatement project on a public building even begins, it is necessary to file a notice, part of which states where and how the asbestos-containing materials will be disposed of.  It is important that, in removing the risk of exposure from one group of people, the risk not promptly be transferred to another group of people.  The U.S. Code of Federal Regulations outlines the rules for proper disposal of asbestos in 40 CFR Part 61, Subpart M.


First, the law specifies that whoever is working with the asbestos “discharge no visible emissions to the outside air” during any part of the abatement, transportation, or disposal process.  The regulation demands that the asbestos-containing waste be made adequately wet to form a slurry, then sealed in leak-proof containers or other leak-proof wrapping.  The containers must then be labeled legibly and according to OSHA standards with proper warnings and the location the waste came from.

If the asbestos-containing material is nonfriable, meaning it will not crumble to the touch, it may be shaped into pellets for disposal as long as it does not discharge any emissions into the air.  If the waste is to be transported offsite, as is usually the case, proper records must be kept and signed by the operator of the disposal site within 35 days of removal.

Disposal Sites

Section 61.154 specifies the standards for active asbestos disposal sites.  If it is not possible to keep all waste from giving off visible emissions, the waste must be covered with at least six inches of compacted non-asbestos material or a “resinous or petroleum-based dust suppression agent” once a day to prevent toxic dust from spreading on the wind.  In the absence of a natural barrier to the site, fencing is required, along with signs reading “Asbestos Waste Disposal Site,” “Do Not Create Dust,” and “Breathing Asbestos is Hazardous to Your Health.”  The site’s operator is also required to maintain records of the location, depth, and quantity of asbestos-containing materials

There are also operations that can convert dangerous asbestos-containing materials into asbestos-free materials, and the regulations for those are even stricter.  The extensive rules governing asbestos disposal highlight the dangers of exposure to this toxic material.