Vermont (VT) Asbestos Removal & Abatement Resources:

The Vermont Department of Health defines asbestos as "absestiform varieties of chrysotile, crocidolite, and amosite" (2).  This mineral is widely known for its insulating properties, making it a common material used in products designed for the construction of houses.  Unfortunately, Vermont also recognizes that prolonged or intense exposure to asbestos can result in the development of serious lung problems and cancer, and that poor practice when handling asbestos containing materials can created an increased level of exposure (3).  One of the most likely sources of exposure is occupational exposure to asbestos, which can occur by breathing contaminated air (3).  This is especially a problem in workplaces that produce or use asbestos containing materials or construction sites involving the renovation or demolition of older (3).  Because of this serious risk, it is recommended that sites planned for renovation or demolition are tested, and abated if necessary before the project begins.

Hiring a Professional

If an inspection for asbestos reveals that there are asbestos containing materials that will be damaged in renovation or demolition, an individual may ask the inspector to help them plan the abatement (1).  Most inspectors will be able to contact abatement contracts on behalf of the home or business owner (1).  Both abatement contractors and project designers can be hired to create the plan for abatement, and individuals may choose which they wish to hire (1).  If desired, a project monitor can be hired to supervise the abatement contractor, but one must be hired to complete the final visual and air clearance (1).  It is also important to note that the project monitor cannot be an employee of the abatement contractor in order to avoid conflicts of interest (1). 

Vermont recommends obtaining no fewer than three bids from contractors and notes that the inspector or consultant can coordinate the hiring if the owner chooses (1).  It is important to ask the contractors or consultants for written proposals that include descriptions of the procedure of abatement, the content of the final report, a schedule, and an estimated budget (1).  This will help the home or business owner to fully compare bids and be knowledgeable about what will be done to their property in advance.

The Abatement Procedure

While it is legal in Vermont for single-family homeowners to perform asbestos abatement and collect bulk samples as long as they adhere to special rules, it is recommended that professionals are hired (2).  Because professionals must undergo significant training, they are knowledgeable in the methods best used to keep all participants safe and they should be hired whenever possible or whenever the law requires.

Site Preparation:
Before the abatement can begin, workers must prepare the site that that the abatement can safely take place.  Before any abatement or pre-cleaning can be begin, airtight barriers and decontamination systems must be established and remain in place until the air has achieved certain levels of cleanliness (2).  Warning signs must be posted at all approaches to the enclosure (2).  The decontamination facility must contain a separate clean room, equipment room, and shower room (2).  Before entering the clean room, all individuals must thoroughly shower to avoiding spreading fibers on their skin or clothing (2).  All openings from the facility, including window, vents, corridors, drains, and the walls and floors must be completely sealed off with 1 or 2 layers of 6 mil sheeting and duct tape (2).  After that, all items that can be removed from the area must be cleaned, to ensure that it does not have asbestos fibers on it, and stored outside the barriers (2).  After the enclosure is constructed, negative air must be achieved with the use of a HEPA air filter (2).

Asbestos Removal:

During the removal procedure, there are many safety precautions that are all taken to minimize the amount of airborne asbestos particles, which can potentially be inhaled and cause serious diseases.  When the asbestos containing material is being removed, it is required that it is saturated prior to the disruption of the material, and it must remain wet until it is appropriately contained (2).  It is also required that the material is removed intact or in as large of sections as possible and carefully lowered to the floor to avoid undue damage to asbestos fibers (2).  No removed materials may accumulate on the floor before being contained, and all asbestos containing material must be placed in approved, sealed, air and water tight containers (2).   The containers that are to be used must be impermeable, and when the asbestos containing material has sharp edges, it must be placed in metal drums with locking tops (2).

Site Cleaning:

After the abatement is completed, cleanup must be started.  To begin, wet cleaning, followed by vacuuming with a HEPA vacuum must be repeated until there are no visible signs of dust (2).  Once the area is fully dry, the project manager must conduct a visual inspection and collect air samples to be tested for clearance (2).  Once the area has met all approved standards, an encapsulant must be sprayed over the abated areas (2).  From there, it is the contractors responsibility to arrange for proper transportation and disposal of the waste at one of the locations designated by the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources as approved for handling asbestos waste (2).

Encapsulation and Enclosure

Encapsulation and enclosure are alternative methods of handling asbestos containing materials.  Instead of removing the asbestos, like abatement does, it simply separates any dangerous materials from the reset of the facility, keeping the remaining area void of any airborne asbestos fibers (2).

Encapsulation is the application of an encapsuling material to an asbestos containing material to control the material from releasing dangerous asbestos fibers into the air (2).  Enclosure is an airtight, permanent structure that separates the area with the asbestos from the rest of the facility (2).  Some building owners may find that one of these two methods, especially encapsulation, may be more cost efficient than abatement, but in most renovation or demolition projects, the material will need to be abated, since the enclosure or encapsulant could easily become damaged during these kinds of remodeling (2).

Vermont asbestos workers must adhere to many very specific federal and state laws regarding the proper handling of asbestos.  All professionals who work with asbestos complete rigorous training courses and annual refresher courses to ensure that they are aware of all of the most current regulations and safety precautions.  To avoid possible contamination of asbestos, it is always best to let a qualified asbestos worker test for and remove asbestos containing materials.  If you believe that there may be dangerous asbestos containing materials in your building, especially prior to a renovation or demolition, contact an inspector or consultant to discuss your particular options.

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