The Care & Feeding of Your Home: Metro Puts the Word Out — Sort Of

By Handyman Bob Stronghandymanbob_logo-8x6.png

If you are a Do-It-Yourself remodeler or if you plan to have a contractor remodel your home anytime in the future, this is important information for you to know.

Just before the end of the year, Metro added a new section to their Garbage and Recycling page under the Tools For Living portion of their website. It’s entitled Asbestos information for all Metro transfer station customers.

It starts off by explaining that “To protect the health and safety of its employees and customers, Metro’s transfer stations are requiring new documentation about asbestos from all customers.” The documentation required is pretty well described but enforcement isn’t well standardized yet, although it’s improving daily.

The first classification of customer, all commercial waste haulers with drop-box loads of construction, remodeling and demolition debris, have to provide certification that the load is asbestos free. I’m hearing from contractors that most waste haulers won’t even drop the box on the jobsite until an asbestos survey has been completed.

The other classification of customer is the licensed contractor or DIY remodeler with a truck or trailer load of construction debris. Again, directly from the Metro website the rules state:03 Metro Tools.png

“Loads of construction and demolition debris brought in by construction contractors and residential DIY-remodelers will be thoroughly screened for asbestos by transfer station staff. Loads with any material suspected of containing asbestos without proper documentation will be turned away.”

So, what are they looking for? Here are some of the typical places asbestos shows up in construction debris, so you will likely be asked for a lab analysis if your load contains drywall, lath and plaster, sheet vinyl (flooring), floor tiles, or acoustical ceiling tile. You may be asked for documentation to confirm testing of the grout and mud-set stuck to ceramic tile as well as test results for roofing material. Carpet should be OK, unless it has been glued down, in which case the adhesive may very well come under scrutiny.

Why is Metro doing this?

They are seriously trying to protect their employees and all of us as customers. Asbestos is only a hazard when it becomes airborne and inhaled into the lungs. Few things will stir up a pile of contaminated debris more than the huge front loaders used at the transfer stations, so dust is always in the air. I for one don’t want any asbestos in that dust.

So, how do you avoid having your load turned away at the transfer station. Simply follow the guidance on the Metro website:

If you are a construction contractor or residential DIY remodeler, take these steps to prepare your load of construction debris for delivery to a Metro transfer station:

If you are remodeling or demolishing a structure, use an accredited asbestos inspector trained to conduct a survey of your project to identify materials suspected of containing asbestos.

If any suspect materials are found, have them tested by an analytical laboratory.

Bring your test results to a Metro transfer station verifying that the materials in your load do not contain asbestos.

The title of this article is Metro Puts The Word Out — Sort Of. Don’t be surprised if your contractor has no idea what you are talking about when you mention asbestos control measures to him. This was not well publicized and I’m hearing from people every week who have had loads turned away. But, now you know and can help get the word out.

Handyman Bob offers home improvement advice on his radio show, Around The House, every Saturday from noon to 2 on FM News 101 KXL. He is also a licensed general contractor and Certified Asbestos Building Inspector. Questions?