Do-It-Yourself Asbestos Abatement Process
After asbestos has been located in the home, there are two options: hire a professional abatement team, or remove the asbestos yourself. Although removing the asbestos without a specialized company often brings further complications and is costly, some homeowners feel as though it is the best option. In order to ensure the highest safety measures for you and your family, it is important to obtain samples and have it tested to make sure asbestos has indeed contaminated the area. You can then proceed with the abatement process after a diagnosis of the room has been performed. Once again, it cannot be stressed enough that asbestos, if left alone, is non-toxic. By removing undisturbed asbestos, you could be creating more of a problem (health wise and financially) if you choose to remove it.
Removing asbestos is not an easy task. By taking on this type of project and the responsibility associated with it, you are foregoing any legal help that you could have received by hiring a professional abatement company. When you do decide to take on the project, it is important to have a game plan. The first steps should include: getting proper breathing ventilation systems for yourself and others that may be working on the project, purchasing protective clothing that can be thrown away after abatement is complete and becoming aware of state and federal regulations when removing asbestos on your own.
Removal procedures first begin with permits that you must obtain from your state regulators. These documents are a guide on how to proceed with the abatement process and proper disposal after removal of the material has been complete. The application that follows with this permit is proof that you are taking full responsibility for safely removing the asbestos from your home without contaminating those inside the house or anyone else that could potentially come in contact with the loose material until it is properly disposed of. There are also fees that vary from state to state regarding the permit and application process.
At this time, if you are taking on a team to help you with the project, you must think of their safety and your liability to them. Proper work gear, clothing (overalls, boots, eye protection, gloves) and breathing respirators are required for the safety of the team. However, it is important to realize that hiring any form of workers other than a professional abatement team is against the law. Having more than one person help you with abatement is important because it allows one person to concentrate on removing the material while the other packages the material and keeps it wet until disposal. It is also important to note that individuals with facial hair should not participate in asbestos removal, as protective gear may not fit properly and potentially expose them to loose particles.
There are several preparatory steps necessary before the abatement process begins. Those who are participating in the project should make sure all tools are purchased and ready for the process (such as hoses, water sprayer, dish washing detergent, pry bar and a knife). There is also specific equipment that can be purchased for asbestos removal. You can find these resources by checking in your local phonebook for companies who specialize in making protective gear and apparel. When beginning to remove the asbestos from the designated area, it is imperative to keep the material wet at all times. This allows the fibers to settle and not become airborne. The goal for the abatement process is to remove the asbestos without the particles becoming airborne. The material should be carefully scraped off the surface into bags that are specially designed for asbestos removal, sealed and handed over to the other worker to be sealed again. The process for removing asbestos differs depending on what kind of asbestos you are removing and what portion of the home it is in. For example, removing siding may have different tasks for removal than if you are abating a room that had flooring filled with the toxic material.
Contained material should be kept in storage bins that are properly sealed and labeled to be taken to a landfill designed for asbestos. The landfill should be picked and notified before the abatement process takes place. You have to make sure that your local landfill accepts asbestos material and has enough room for the amount of waste that you will be bringing. Clean up should consist of wetting any area of the room that had not been finished or is still in question for containing asbestos. Even if you think you got it all, it is still important to keep everything wet and out of the air. When workers have completed the job, they must decontaminate themselves by wetting themselves down and removing the protective clothing. Always remove respirators last after all garments have been removed. If dust particles are still present, do not vacuum or sweep them up. Instead, wet them down and remove them the same way. Make sure all workers, including you, have thoroughly showered after the project is complete. When the process if finished, make sure to obtain an "after" sample to make sure that all asbestos has been safely removed from the area.
If you have any questions or doubt on your do-it-yourself abatement project, contact a professional immediately. Asking questions and educating yourself on the process before it begins is the best way to effectively eliminate the asbestos and keep everyone safe.
Last modified: February 04, 2011.