Montana DEQ Asbestos Control Program

Montana Department of Environmental QualityAs delegated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Asbestos Control Act of Montana, DEQ administers regulatory requirements from sections of the National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) and Montana Administrative Rules, governing building renovations/demolitions, asbestos disposal and other asbestos-related activities.

DESCRIPTION OF DEQ'S ASBESTOS CONTROL PROGRAM

Asbestos is a name given to a group of naturally occurring fibrous minerals including chrysotile, amosite, crocidolite, anthophyllite, actinolite, and tremolite. Asbestos has been used in a variety of products for purposes of reinforcement, heat and cold insulation, friction, fire protection, sound dampening, decoration, texturing, chemical resistance, and other applications. Over 3500 different products were made with asbestos. Typically, asbestos is found in thermal system insulation such as pipe, boiler, tank, and duct insulation, surfacing material such as fireproofing, wall and ceiling texture, plaster, and wallboard, and miscellaneous materials such as floor tile, linoleum, ceiling tiles, roofing products, cement asbestos pipe and siding, attic insulation, and other products. In America, asbestos was used in a variety of materials from the late 1800s to the present. Contrary to popular belief, asbestos is not currently banned from use in certain products. Exposure to asbestos causes asbestos-related illnesses such as asbestosis, mesothelioma, lung cancer and other lung abnormalities.

In 1989 the Montana Legislature identified the need for state-specific asbestos regulation. The Legislature felt exposure to asbestos caused increased rates of asbestosis, mesothelioma, lung cancer, and other asbestos-related illnesses. To prevent unnecessary public exposure to asbestos a program to regulate and establish criteria for asbestos abatement practices and training/accreditation was established. Currently, the State has promulgated asbestos laws and rules that guide permit issuance, accreditation requirements, asbestos training course approval, abatement practices, rule making, compliance assistance, and penalty procedures. The Department of Environmental Quality administers these regulations.

The State of Montana is delegated by EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) to administer sections of the asbestos NESHAP (National Emission Standard for Hazardous Air Pollutants) regulation. The asbestos NESHAP regulation governs facility renovations/demolitions, asbestos disposal, and other asbestos-related activities. EPA maintains jurisdiction over asbestos in schools via its AHERA regulation (inspection and management plan requirements), whereas OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration) enforces its standards in the general and construction industry. Asbestos regulations require inspecting for asbestos prior to initiating demolition or renovation activities. An asbestos inspection not only locates, quantifies, and assesses the condition of asbestos-containing material, it also provides information as to whether an asbestos-containing material is regulated and regulated by which authority. According to EPA and Asbestos Control Program regulations, an accredited asbestos inspector must perform the asbestos inspection.

Since 1990 DEQ has regulated asbestos projects in buildings involving the abatement of 3 or more linear or square feet of friable or potentially friable asbestos-containing material (ACM).  Asbestos project means the encapsulation, enclosure, removal, repair, renovation, demolition, placement, transportation, and/or disposal of friable ACM or ACM that may become friable.  Asbestos projects require permits, the use of accredited asbestos personnel, and proper abatement control measures.

The asbestos regulated community includes personnel accredited in an asbestos-related occupation (worker, contractor/supervisor, inspector, project designer, and management planner), contractors, building owners, asbestos waste transporters, and asbestos waste disposal sites.

Currently there are two (2) FTEs (full time employee) in the Asbestos Control Program. Fees collected from the issuance of asbestos abatement project permits, accreditations, course reviews/approvals and audits, and the EPA fund the Program.  Contact us by calling (406) 444-5300 or log onto our website at: http://www.Asbestos.mt.gov

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