Asbestos is the name given to a group of naturally occurring fibrous minerals. Because asbestos fibers are very stable and resistant to both heat and chemicals, they are added to many products to add strength, durability and fire resistance. Asbestos has not been totally banned from being added to building products and may be found in homes of any age, including new construction. Products that may contain asbestos include floor tile and mastics (glue), roofing shingles, wall and ceiling textures, linoleum, drywall and drywall joint compound, vermiculite insulation, cement board shingles and siding, and pipe, duct and boiler insulation.
Asbestos may be either friable or nonfriable. Friable asbestos can be crumbled to a powder by hand when dry and is the most dangerous form. Nonfriable asbestos cannot easily be pulverized to a powder, but nonfriable asbestos-containing products can be damaged to the extent that it becomes friable during handling or demolition activities. Elevated concentrations of airborne asbestos can occur after cutting, breaking or sanding asbestos-containing materials.
The most important thing in removing, handling, transporting, and disposing of asbestos is to do so in a manner that prevents airborne release of asbestos fibers. Inhalation of asbestos fibers may cause cancer. Even though homeowners may remove asbestos themselves in their primary residence without obtaining a permit from the Air Pollution Control Division, they should contact that division for guidance on health and safety precautions before beginning work. If homeowners choose not to do the removal themselves, they must hire a contractor certified by the Air Pollution Control Division to do the work.
Homeowners and/or their certified asbestos contractors must dispose of waste asbestos materials properly. Disposal requirements for commercial contractors also apply to homeowners, whether they do the work themselves or have a contractor do it. Landfill operators are required to handle asbestos wastes separately from other wastes, so it is important to contact them prior to disposal.
Non-friable asbestos may be accepted by any landfill as long as the landfill has included it in their approved waste acceptance plan. Contact the landfill operator for approval prior to transporting the waste for disposal. There are no state regulations regarding the packaging of nonfriable asbestos for disposal, though local landfills may have their own requirements.
Friable asbestos waste and nonfriable asbestos waste damaged to the point of being friable must be properly packaged before being transported to the landfill. It must be tightly sealed in at least two 6-mil, leak-tight polyethylene bags or in a wrapping or other container deemed equivalent by the Hazardous Materials and Waste Management Division. The outermost layer of the packaging must be labeled with a waste shipment manifest label that gives the name and address of the generator of the waste, and either of the following statements in letters at least 0.5 inches tall:
Avoid Opening Or Breaking Container
Breathing Asbestos Is Hazardous
To Your Health
Contains Asbestos Fibers
Avoid Creating Dust
Cancer and Lung Disease Hazard
Friable asbestos and nonfriable asbestos damaged to the point of being friable may be disposed of only in landfills expressly authorized to accept these wastes. Currently, there are seven approved landfills in Colorado:
Denver-Arapahoe Disposal Site, Aurora (303-690-4303)
Colorado Springs Landfill, Colorado Springs (719-683-2600)
Conservation Services Inc. Landfill, Bennett (303-662-4089)
Milner Landfill, Milner (970-875-0355)
Orchard Mesa Landfill, Grand Junction (970-241-6846) (accepted from Mesa County only)
Southside Landfill, Pueblo (719-948-2100)
Tower Landfill, Commerce City (303-371-5115)