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Identifying Construction/Demolition Waste

Some construction/demolition wastes are hazardous, referred to as dangerous wastes in Washington State. Demolition Contractors must determine by the waste designation process if their demolition debris is dangerous waste. The most common problem faced by demolition contractors is lead paint on a building siding or interior.

Common Construction and Demolition Wastes describes wastes that are found in construction and demolition.

Responsibility for Demolition Waste describes who is the "generator" of construction waste.

Sampling and Identifying Demolition Waste

In cases where a structure is being partially or completely demolished, the generator (both property owner and contractor) needs to know if the demolition debris would designate as dangerous waste.  Some older buildings may designate as a dangerous waste, often because of lead paint issues. Representative samples can be taken from buildings (painted with lead paint) prior to demolition. 

Sampling Building Debris for Dangerous Waste may help.

Wastes generated from remodeling, maintaining or renovating a residence are excluded from the dangerous waste regulations, even if a contractor is doing the work. Household hazardous waste is regulated by the local Solid Waste program.  In the event an entire structure or part of a structure, or a commercial structure, is being demolished, more stringent rules apply.

Identify and Designate Waste describes the step-by-step process for determining if a solid waste is a dangerous waste and what kind it is. This makes it possible to assign Dangerous Waste codes, the numbers used to identify it by law.

Related information

Sampling Building Debris for Dangerous Waste discusses procedures for this hard-to-sample waste stream.

Construction Industry Compliance Assistance Center is a partnership of industry and the Environmental Protection Agency that provides compliance guidance for the construction industry

Property Managers Problem Waste Fact Sheets is an Ecology publication managing your properties requires also managing the dangerous materials and wastes that are on the premises, to avoid the potential risks to people and the environment. This guide is to help you identify and properly manage common problem wastes.

Mercury-containing Light Bulbs and Tubes  discusses this waste stream from Ecology's Mercury Web site.

Mercury-containing Thermostats describes this waste stream on Ecology's Mercury Web site.

From the Environmental Protection Agency

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle—Construction & Demolition Materials

Reducing C&D Materials offers ways to produce less waste.

RCRA in Focus; Construction, Demolition, and Renovation Publication (pdf) from EPA

Disaster Debris offers resources for communities trying to recover from disasters

Green Building from Ecology's Solid Waste and Financial Assistance Program

Download full-color Green Home Remodel Guides from King County and Ecology: