EPA Successfully Tests New Method to Remove Asbestos from Buildings

A new method of removing asbestos-laden materials from buildings has been tested successfully at Fort Smith, Ark,, EPA announced Tuesday as it released a draft report evaluating the Alternative Asbestos Control Method (AACM). Personnel from EPA's National Risk Management Research Laboratory and EPA's Dallas regional office compared the current National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants method against AACM and said the latter is protective for cleanup of many asbestos-containing buildings.

The test involved two similar buildings at Fort Chaffee that contained similar types and quantities of asbestos and were demolished in April 2006. The NESHAP method involves removing some asbestos materials prior to demolition of a structure; after demolition is complete, the removed asbestos and the demolished structure are disposed in approved landfills. AACM removes some asbestos materials, too, but then the structure is wetted with amended water to control asbestos fiber release prior to and during demolition. Demolition debris and several inches of affected soil are disposed as asbestos-containing debris at an approved landfill. "Data from the evaluation demonstrated lower than expected levels of asbestos and reduced potential for worker exposure. The cost and time-savings for the first study were significant," EPA said.

The 229-page draft report is available at www.epa.gov/region06/6xa/asbestos.htm; it will be peer-reviewed by an expert panel. Comments are being accepted until June 11. To comment, visit www.regulations.gov and identify your comment by Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-ORD-2007-0362.

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