HWTR Dangerous Materials

My Watershed

Manage Construction and Demolition Waste

Wastes from construction and the demolition industries are sometimes dangerous wastes and need to be properly managed and disposed of. Buildings that are to be demolished must be assessed (a process known as dangerous waste designation) to determine if they contain or are themselves a dangerous waste. Older buildings are often painted with lead paint and paints containing mercury-based biocides, use leaded pipes, have asbestos insulation, use mercury-containing fluorescent lamps and PCB ballasts and contain many other hazardous materials. Besides demolition debris, other wastes generated during new building construction include treated wood, paint and solvent wastes, glues and roofing tars. Many buildings are carefully de-constructed for material reuse, and these types of projects can also generate similar dangerous wastes. Deconstructed materials that are reused are not regulated as waste. For example, a door painted with lead-based paint could be reused as is, even if it would otherwise be regulated as dangerous waste if disposed.

Buildings scheduled for burning, such as fire department training burns, pose special environmental risks to the air, soil, water and human health. The building must be assessed to determine if there are hazardous materials present and whether they should be removed. In some cases buildings should not be burned because removal of dangerous materials is not feasible.

Common Construction and Demolition Wastes describes materials that may be dangerous waste.

Responsibility for Demolition Debris describes who is responsible when a contractor demolishes a building on the property of another person.

Sampling Demolition Debris for Dangerous Waste disscusses procedures for this hard-to-sample waste stream.

When buildings are torn down, workers, neighbors and the environment can be exposed to toxic chemicals. The Dangerous Waste Rules and/ or solid waste regulations control how these wastes need to be managed after the building is taken down. Ecology strongly recommends designating buildings and/or building components prior to demolition. It is much easier to sample a standing structure than a large pile of unlike building debris. Also, sampling prior to demolition allows identification and removal of specific components (such as siding with lead paint) that designate as dangerous waste.