At Xtract Environmental Services, we specialize in asbestos removal throughout Colorado and southern Wyoming. We operate Asbestos Abatement offices in Greeley and Grand Junction to reach all our customers efficiently and timely. Asbestos can be dangerous if handled improperly and it is important to know where it resides and if your home contains it. If you are unsure if asbestos is present it is best to take precautions. We want to help! Even if you do not require our services, please feel free to use us as a resource.
Many homes built before 1980 contain asbestos and though less common, it is still found in homes built after the 1980’s. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) have developed protocols and Asbestos Abatement procedures to protect both workers and citizens. Despite the known hazards, asbestos production and use has never been completely banned in the United States. Some of the most common asbestos-containing materials include drywall texturing and joint compound, floor tiles, insulators for HVAC systems, siding, roofing materials and some attic insulation. Asbestos is not hazardous IF it retains its integrity. However, if it is disturbed or damaged, fibers are released and become airborne. This is dangerous! For example, if you are hanging your new tv on the wall you will have to drill some pilot holes to attach its wall mount. This damage to the drywall and texture creates dust and releases asbestos fibers. Instead of risking potential exposure, it is always best to know if and where you have asbestos for monitoring and maintenance. Generally, a visual inspection of your home is usually not sufficient to determine if it contains asbestos. Alternatively, samples of suspected asbestos materials should be sent to a certified laboratory for analysis. This can be done using a home test but the state of Colorado advises us to use a Certified Industrial Hygienist for accurate detection.
The approach used to mitigate the asbestos in a home or business depends upon where the asbestos is found, the condition of the material, and whether it is friable or non-friable. Friable asbestos is composed of material that is easily crumbled or reduced to a powder and can become airborne. Non-friable asbestos is more tightly bound with another sturdy material and its fibers cannot easily be made airborne unless they are sanded, cut, or sawed. In some cases, asbestos-containing materials may be repaired or isolated rather than removed. For example, small tears in pipe insulation may be repaired. In other instances, asbestos-containing material can be “enclosed”. This happens when the material is in good condition and can be isolated from potential damage by using a sturdy, airtight barrier. Usually, this method is a temporary solution. Alternatively, encapsulants can be used, and these are usually sprayed over asbestos-containing material through an air-less paint sprayer. Encapsulants are materials applied in liquid form to provide a seal against the release of asbestos fibers. They can work well for asbestos-containing material that has not been damaged. However, this method can do more harm than good if the material is deteriorating. Ultimately, asbestos removal is the only permanent solution. It is important to note that asbestos removal does pose a high risk of fiber release if not done properly. Please consult a properly certified asbestos company to mitigate the asbestos present in your space. Once work is completed, air samples should be collected and assessed to ensure the safety of the occupants.
Whether asbestos is contained or removed from your home, it is important that you choose a competent professional who is certified to do asbestos abatement work. Many home repair or remodeling contractors do not have this special certification. Make sure that the person you choose has completed a federal or state-approved asbestos safety course and training and has a General Abatement Contractors license.
Our procedure for removing asbestos containing material (ACM) following state, OSHA, and EPA standards are as follows:
STAGE 1 – PRE-CLEAN
Wet wipe and HEPA vacuum all surfaces that are not being removed so that tape and sealants adhere well and the final cleaning process is easier.
STAGE 2 – BUILD CONTAINTMENT
Critical Barriers – Cover all windows, openings, vents, etc. with a layer of 6 millimeter plastic and establish negative pressure.
Decontamination Chambers – Two chambers are constructed on either side of a portable shower with “Z” flaps (3 layers of polyurethane plastic staggered to help restrict air flow) on the ends and in between each unit. These showers have running water that is heated through a portable water heater. A filtration system will be installed to collect any debris before the water is disposed of as standard sewage.
Waste Loadout – Two chambers are constructed to be airlocks for safe transfer of waste and tools in and out of the containment.
Interior Prep – One layer of 6mil polyurethane plastic is mounted on the floor and one layer of 4mil polyurethane plastic is mounted on the walls. These layers overlap each other by 24” (12” from each intersection of the wall and floor) to add an additional interlocking layer. Any furniture or appliances within the abatement area that cannot be moved will be covered and sealed twice with 6mil polyurethane plastic and tape.
STAGE 3 – Abatement
Gross Removal – All ACM is removed, maintaining moisture with amended water. All waste will be bagged once in a 6mil polyurethane plastic bag, wet thoroughly with amended water, and sealed.
Loadout – The Asbestos Abatement bags of debris are wet-wiped down and placed in the first decontamination chamber to be bagged a second time with another 6mil polyurethane bag that has asbestos hazard signs printed on them. A label with the building owner’s contact information and generator’s information (abatement contractor) is placed in the bag and it is sealed to regulatory standards (impossible for debris or liquids to seep out) and removed from the containment area.
STAGE 4 – Final Cleaning and Air Clearance
Cleaning – All interior prep polyurethane will be cleaned and removed in layers, controlling any debris. Then, all surfaces will be thoroughly wiped with rags and amended water.
Air Clearance – A third-party Hygienist will perform a detailed visual inspection ensuring NO debris is present and set air monitoring equipment for an amount of time (project dependent). Those samples taken will be examined and must be free of asbestos fibers.
Tear Down – Once inspections are passed, all equipment and remaining polyurethane plastic are removed.
Stage 5 – Hazardous Waste Disposal
Hauling – Waste trailer / dumpster must be prepped with 2 layers of 6mil polyurethane plastic and sealed identically to the interior prep. Waste is then hauled to a landfill that accepts Asbestos Abatement waste