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2 Methods And A Tip For Storing Removed Asbestos For The Short Term

When done as part of a larger project, asbestos abatement can become much more complicated that a simple cut and dump. If your construction project is going to have multiple phases, like many remodeling or retrofitting projects, then you may need to store your old loose asbestos on site; doing this safely is the difference between keeping your building occupants and workers safe and potentially having a lawsuit on your hands. Here are 2 safe ways to store asbestos on-site while waiting for a final debris removal at the end of a project, as well as some information on planning your asbestos storage to protect your employees, your neighbors, and yourself. 

Method 1: Drums

Drum storage might be the most expensive of the three options on this list, but it certainly is the most convenient. Drums are totally modular, meaning that they will always fit on a dolly or with a certain number of drums in a given room, so they're easy to keep track of. Additionally, drums are commonly used for many types of hazardous materials, so if another project is being conducted in line with asbestos abatement, like PCB removal, for example, then both of these types of debris can be put into drums and shipped at the end of the project. Drums are also airtight, which is the most important criterion when figuring out how to store loose asbestos. 

Method 2: Plastic Bags

Plastic bags are the old standby, and while they can be effective at keeping asbestos particles out of the air, they must be dealt with carefully. Ensuring a complete seal is a must, otherwise the bags will spew harmful asbestos when moved. Another thing to be wary of is the possibility of a puncture, but this issue can easily be offset by using a puncture-proof bag like a dumpster bag inside of a thick, heavy-duty trash bag. Cut down the puncture probability further by ensuring that no nails or wood shards make it into the bag, and you've got a pretty safe way of storing your asbestos on site for a short amount of time. 

The Tip

Asbestos carries with it a huge amount of liability to your workers, and the law is almost always going to be applicable to intentionally keeping asbestos at your job site. However, that isn't to say that you can't keep asbestos for future disposal at a more convenient time, it just means that you will likely need to have a protocol in place. Check your local hazardous materials regulations for rules related to asbestos, but a couple of basic rules include keeping the asbestos sealed, as described above, and having a dedicated accumulation site away from where waste might be disturbed and kicked up into the air.