Ministry of Environment

Management of Waste Asbestos by Home Owners in B.C.

The management of waste asbestos, including transportation and disposal, from residential buildings is within the ministry's jurisdiction, but the decision to remove and the removal process is not.

Special techniques are required to remove asbestos safely. Home owners should call in a removal expert or at least not disturb asbestos or attempt removal without following all precautions as set out in the Workers' Compensation Board handbook "Safe Work Practices Handling Asbestos".

The following information has been provided for home owners to assist in the transportation and disposal of asbestos waste if the waste is classified as hazardous waste according to the Hazardous Waste Regulation. Waste asbestos must be transported according to the federal Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act and Regulations, and transported and managed according to the provincial Environmental Management Act, the Hazardous Waste Regulation, and any applicable local government landfill rules.

The Hazardous Waste Regulation defines "waste asbestos" as a hazardous waste if the waste contains more than 1%, by weight, of asbestos fibres and the waste is either a powder or friable. Friable waste means a waste, that when dry, can be easily crumbled or powdered by hand. Friable material containing asbestos may appear:

  • fluffy or spongy (always applied by spraying)
  • irregular, soft surface (usually applied by spraying)
  • textured, dense, fairly firm surface (usually applied by trowelling)

Asbestos that is tightly bound within a solid matrix so that it is not easily crumbled by hand is non-friable and is not a hazardous waste. The Regulation is not directed at non-friable materials such as hardboard, brake linings or woven cloth. The percentage of asbestos in the waste may be available in the manufacturer's information. If not, the Workers' Compensation Board test method "Asbestos in Bulk Samples — Dispersion Staining" may be used to determine the asbestos content.

Asbestos which is a hazardous waste, but not mixed with any other hazardous wastes, may be transported and disposed of at any authorized landfill provided each of the following conditions, as identified in Section 40 of the Hazardous Waste Regulation, are met:

  • the disposal is approved by the landfill operator and the Regional Environmental Protection Manager,
  • the asbestos is saturated with water and put into a non-leaking sealed drum, or if it is dry the asbestos is placed within a 6 mil plastic bag which is sealed within a non-reusable drum or a second 6 mil plastic bag, and
  • the asbestos is buried immediately with 0.5 m of cover material at the landfill.

If the waste asbestos is determined to be a hazardous waste and is to be transported to a landfill by someone other than the homeowner, a manifest must be used. Please note that the manifest also serves as the shipping document required by the federal Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulation. The transporter must also hold a licence to transport asbestos under Section 45 of the Hazardous Waste Regulation.

If the waste asbestos is determined to be non-friable, it is not defined as a hazardous waste pursuant to Part 1 Section (1) of the Hazardous Waste Regulation and does not, therefore, require the use of a manifest when being transported from the generation site to the landfill. Section 10 of the Environmental Management Act and Section 46 of the Hazardous Waste Regulation establish the requirement and associated conditions for the use of a manifest for the transportation of hazardous waste.

Section 46(2)(c) of the Hazardous Waste Regulation exempts householders and farmers from the manifest and transport licence requirement when they transport hazardous waste, including asbestos, from their homes or farms directly to a facility operated by a government agency, including a municipality.