The South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) plans to update its asbestos regulation (Rule 1403), although it is delayed indefinitely. While the much-needed revisions are stalled, recent developments have potentially far-reaching impacts to those falling within the SCAQMD jurisdiction.
The most significant development is related to the presence of asbestos in asphalt. More specifically, it is described as “asphalt street materials.” Within the SCAQMD jurisdiction, it is now a requirement to sample asphaltic street materials before disturbance. This will likely have a substantial impact on the utility sector who often service lines beneath the asphalt. The other sector which will be squarely impacted is the construction sector, especially those conducting street repairs and infrastructure upgrades.
Sampling asphalt for subsequent asbestos analysis typically requires coring through all layers of the asphalt system to the soil interface or base layer beneath. One-inch diameter cores should be collected for ease of preparation by the laboratory. Asphalt is considered a surfacing material and the total quantity of samples to be collected is dependent on the entire surface area of the material being impacted, a minimum of three samples should be collected and up to seven samples should be collected for larger areas. Sample analysis is completed by accredited laboratories utilizing polarized light microscopy (PLM). As necessary, samples may need to be “ashed” for further analysis.
If concentrations of asbestos are reported to be greater than one percent asbestos and the materials will be disturbed, any such disturbance must be carried out following SCAQMDs approved procedures. Depending on the disturbance scope, the use of alternative removal procedures may be necessary, requiring the preparation of a Procedure 5 Work Plan and the subsequent approval by the SCAQMD. Alta Environmental (an NV5 Company) (Alta) will work closely with our clients and the SCAQMD to develop efficient, effective, and safe procedures for the characterization and abatement.
Other ongoing developments related to Rule 1403 compliance include the continuing reinforcement by the SCAQMD related to asbestos surveys.
Neither the SCAQMD nor EPA recognize a “cutoff date” for not requiring the sample of suspect materials. It is a common misunderstanding that the use of asbestos was banned completely by 1980. In fact, asbestos can be found in more recent construction materials. Alta recently identified the presence of asbestos in regulated concentrations in a building constructed in 1996. No matter the date of construction, building materials must be tested for asbestos before disturbance.
As is the case in any construction renovation or demolition project, planning is key to a successful project. It is important to allow ample time for a thorough building investigation and subsequent follow-up investigations, work plan development, and approvals, as necessary.