Kansas (KS) Asbestos Removal & Abatement Resources:

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) is responsible for the enforcement of regulation concerning asbestos abatement and removal procedures in the state of Kansas.

In 1999, changes were made to Kansas regulations concerning asbestos to better align them with the federal U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPS) and the Occupation Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards. Among these changes, Kansas State allowed the amount of friable asbestos that can be removed from a site without receiving authorization from KDHE to be raised. Projects that require the removal of more than 10 square feet or 25 linear feet of asbestos containing material must still notify KDHE. Work practices regarding asbestos removal have also been updated, resulting in a reduction in the amount of time required to give the site clearance after asbestos removal has occurred (2).

Asbestos Abatement Procedures

Kansas regulations state that individuals cannot engage in asbestos removal or encapsulation unless properly certified with a class I or class II asbestos worker certificate, which is achieved through completion of a state-approved basic training or annual review course. Additional regulations are in effect when dealing with removal or encapsulation within a school or public and commercial building (1).

Projects for removal or encapsulation must obtain permission through notification in advance of the project. Notification includes submitting proper certification, as well as a plan for removal and disposal. Notification guidelines are outlined in Kansas statues regarding asbestos (1).

Proposed sites must be isolated from other areas of the building before work commences, and warning signs must be in place. All removable furnishings and equipment must be pre-cleaned and removed from the area. All non-removable furnishings and surfaces must be pre-cleaned and covered with plastic sheeting that meets Kansas State specifications. HEPA filter ventilation fans must be installed, and a continuous exhaust flow must be established in the work area. A decontamination area between the work area and any area assumed to be uncontaminated must be established, including a clean room, shower room, and equipment room. All decontamination areas must be fully enclosed and connected to one another directly. All exposed surfaces of friable asbestos containing materials must be kept wet while the asbestos is being removed. A wetting agent must be applied with a low pressure spraying system (1).

After removal of the asbestos, all surfaces in the work area, including plastic sheeting, must be cleaned with a HEPA vacuum or through wet cleaning methods, and cleared of all visible debris. All cleaned surfaces should be sealed before removal of the floor sheeting. Following completion of the cleaning procedures, a clearance monitoring is mandated in addition to air sampling tests. All seals over doorways or vents must remain in place for 24 hours after completion of cleaning actions (1).

Disposal of Asbestos Containing Materials

All friable asbestos waste must be sealed in containers in a wet condition before being removed from the work area. Containers must be double bagged in plastic bags, which meet Kansas State regulations. If the material is likely to puncture the bags, a fiber or metal container with a plastic liner and tightly fitting lid may be substituted. If the material is too large to be bagged or placed in a container, it may be wrapped while in a wet state, in plastic meeting state regulations. All containers, bags or wrapped items must be cleaned of all debris and labeled appropriately before removal from the work area. Labels must be legible, waterproof, and must contain information regarding the public agency responsible for the disposal. The container labels must also include an identifying number and an indication that the substance is asbestos related (1).

Waste must be transported in vehicles with completely enclosed cargo areas. All debris within the vehicle must be cleaned while wet, and waste must be taken to an approved disposal site (1).

Kansas Asbestos Abatement Violations

 In accordance with the federal Clean Air Act, the EPA advises fines up to $25,000 per day, per violation. Fines can be charged to the owner of the building, the contractor responsible for the removal, or any other individual who has been in a position of responsibility in regard to the abatement. If the violation is committed knowingly, owners or operators may be subjected to prison terms. Kansas State statues permit a fine of up to $5,000 per day, per violation (3).

Pretty Prairie Site and Kansas Asbestos Abatement

 In 1999, the Pretty Prairie site came to the attention of the KDHE. The city clerk of Pretty Prairie notified the KDHE of a concern regarding friable asbestos at the site, both inside and outside the building, which was easily accessible to the public (4).

It was determined that the site contained over 9,000 square feet of friable asbestos spread throughout the area. An initial evaluation revealed that the levels of asbestos presented a human health hazard, and were in excess of federal limits. In March of 1999, the KDHE notified and asked for assistance from the EPA in producing a removal assessment. The assessment confirmed the findings of the KDHE regarding the human health risk (4).

The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) allows the EPA to conduct removal assessment and take actions when there is a hazardous substance in danger of being released into the environment. In the case of the Pretty Prairie site, the threat was present due to the fact that friable asbestos can be easily released into the air by gusting winds (4).

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