The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) has amended the Massachusetts air pollution control regulations (310 CMR 7.00 and 310 CMR 7.15) to update and streamline the environmental rules for managing asbestos in Massachusetts demolition and renovation projects. The revised regulations became effective on June 20, 2014.

The regulation governs the renovation or demolition of residential, commercial and industrial buildings and requires that all owners, operators and contractors adhere to a series of asbestos-related notification requirements and procedures for controlling asbestos emissions using air cleaning equipment and proper disposal.  The MassDEP amended the regulation to impose additional requirements for notification and implementation of asbestos abatement projects that are more consistent with the federal asbestos air pollution regulations (NESHAP).  The new regulation also creates some exemptions from notification for certain types of small-scale projects. 

Among some of the more pertinent amendments are those related to pre and post abatement surveys and inspections.  The new regulation clarifies the need for a pre-abatement survey that is similar to EPAfs NESHAP requirement.  Specifically, the regulation now requires contractors, before beginning work on a project, to conduct a thorough survey of the area to be affected by the demolition or renovation, and to identify all material in the facility that is suspicious for asbestos-containing content. The owner/operator of the facility where the abatement will occur is responsible for engaging a certified inspector to meet the survey requirements.  The prior regulation did not require a thorough inspection of the area to be renovated or demolished.   It simply required owners/operators to describe the facility and to estimate the approximate amount of asbestos-containing materials to be handled with a description of the techniques used for the estimation.  To ensure that asbestos abatements are complete, a requirement for a visual inspection of the work area has been incorporated into the final regulation.

The new regulation also carves out some exemptions from the 10-day notification requirements for smaller abatement projects.  Prior to the amendment, the regulations required property owners and/or contractors to notify the MassDEP at least ten (10) working days before disturbing asbestos-containing materials.  The new regulations now exempt owners of owner-occupied single-family residences who perform the abatement work themselves who perform the following types of projects from the 10-day notification requirement:

  • Removal or disturbance of 100 square feet or less of exterior asbestos containing cementitious shingles, siding or panels.
  • Incidental maintenance projects involving 100 square feet or less of asbestos containing floor tiles and related asbestos-containing mastics, or 32 square feet or less of asbestos-containing gypsum wallboard and/or joint compound.
  • Abatements of non-friable materials that are conducted by the owner of a single family residence, who also lives at that residence, as long as the non-friable material does not become friable and the project does not involve removing or disturbing more than 100 square feet of exterior asbestos-containing cementitious shingles, siding or panels.

Notwithstanding this change in the notice requirement, the requirements relative to work practices and disposal of the asbestos-containing materials remain in place.  The final regulation also exempts owners of single-family homes doing work on non-friable materials at their homes from the requirements to conduct a pre-construction survey and post-abatement visual inspection.

The new amendments also require that Waste Shipment Records (WRS) accompany each shipment of asbestos-containing waste material from the site where the waste is generated to a disposal facility. The WRS needs to be signed by the owner/operator of the facility where the abatement occurred, each transporter of the waste material and the waste disposal facility operator.   The transporter and disposal facility operator must send a copy of the WSR back to the owner/operator within 35 days as proof that the shipment arrived at the disposal facility.

If the owner/operator does not receive a copy of the completed WSR within 45 days after the shipment left the site where it was generated, he must file a report with MassDEP which will conduct an investigation into same.

Lastly, the final regulation has established new record-keeping requirements for pre-construction survey reports and for WRS.