Changes to Virginia’s Asbestos Regulations
Regulations involving asbestos have been around since the 1970s. In general, there have been relatively few significant regulatory changes within the last 10 years. In the regions served by ECS offices we have observed various minor interpretations and changes to asbestos regulations, as different state regulatory agencies amend or tweak local and state regulations. One such change occurred last year in Virginia.
U.S. EPA regulations section 40 CFR 61 Subpart M (NESHAP), states: “Any demolition or renovation operation at an institutional, commercial or industrial building is regulated under Asbestos NESHAP regulations. At a minimum, the thorough inspection requirement applies. The notification requirements apply to any demolition and to renovations over a certain threshold amount of regulated asbestos-containing material (160 square feet, 260 linear feet, or 35 cubic feet). The EPA, however, exempted residential units with four or fewer units providing that the demolition is not part of a public or commercial project”. (Source: US EPA NESHAP regulations definitions –November 20, 1990, EPA published a revision to the asbestos NESHAP regulation. (See 55 FR 48406).
In Virginia, the U.S. EPA NESHAP regulations are enforced by a consent agreement with the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry (DLI). DLI receives all notifications and permit fees for asbestos abatement, although it should be noted that in Virginia the threshold quantity (10 linear or 10 square feet) for notification for abatement is much lower than the EPA. Virginia also differed with the EPA in that friable asbestos abatement in residential units with less than four (4) units or single family homes required a courtesy notification to DLI, although no fee was required. (Please refer to the DLI website for a listing of all other specific notification requirements and permit fee schedules).
On August 15, 2013, this courtesy notification requirement for residential homes was removed by the Virginia Occupational Safety and Health Codes Board. The regulation within the Code of Virginia (16VAC 25-20-40) was amended to stipulate that “no notification to the department (DLI) or payment of asbestos project fees is required for asbestos projects in residential buildings as defined under 16VAC25-20-10.”
Virginia stills follows the EPA interpretation in that inspections and notifications will still be required if it is a commercial or government entity demolishing a residential structure for a new road or a new building. This interpretation has not changed at the federal level, and Virginia cannot be any less stringent than the U.S. EPA.
With regulations varying from state to state, and variations based on the type of work and/or structure, a licensed asbestos consultant should be retained to guide you through your specific situation.