Materials that may contain ASbestos
- Asbestos - what is it, why is it a concern and how to identify it
- Drywall/Gypsum - testing and disposal requirements
- Materials requiring testing
- Other materials that may contain asbestos - testing and disposal requirements
- Brochure - Asbestos identification, testing, disposal and safe handling
- Frequently Asked Questions
What is asbestos?
Asbestos is a strong, fire-resistant mineral fibre. It was used in a wide variety of materials as insulation against heat or noise, for fire protection, and to increase structural strength in materials such as cement and plaster. Its use was phased out by the early 1990’s.
Why is asbestos a concern?
Asbestos is not a health risk if left intact, but if disturbed, asbestos fibers are released into the air, are easily inhaled, and stay airborne for hours or even days. Repeated exposures can lead to lung cancer and other lethal asbestos-related diseases. Protect yourself and others by learning more about the health hazards of asbestos.
Where is asbestos found?
If you are renovating or demolishing an older house, there is a high probability of encountering asbestos-containing materials. Check www.worksafebc.com for more information.
Before beginning a demolition or renovation: test for asbestos!
- Contact a qualified company that deals with asbestos to conduct testing.
- Costs depend on how many different materials require tesing and how fast you want the test results.
Take every precaution to avoid damaging asbestos materials
For residential and commercial customers
Clean, unused drywall
- Bring unused sheets and scraps to Sechelt Landfill or Pender Harbour Transfer Station during operating hours.
- Pay the disposal fee for Gypsum ($5 min charge, $265/MT = $0.27/Kg).
- All "clean" drywall gets transferred to New Westminster for recycling. No drywall is disposed in our landfill due to dangerous off-gassing.
Old, used drywall
- Used drywall from a renovation or demolition with signs of mud, joint compound, tape, paint or textured finishes MUST first be tested for presence of asbestos. This includes used drywall from newer buildings or anything that has been up on a wall.
- Before starting works, contact a qualified company that tests for asbestos. Costs depend on how fast you want the test results, and range from approximately $70 to $100 per sample.
If testing shows no asbestos (“Not Detected”)
- Bring the drywall to Sechelt Landfill or Pender Harbour Transfer Station along with a copy of your certified test results within 6 months of testing.
- Pay the disposal fee for Gypsum.
Note: The SCRD delivers the gypsum (with no asbestos) to New Westminster for recycling. The recycling facility tests all loads of gypsum delivered to their facility. The SCRD faces large fines and possibly a ban from the facility should the gypsum be found to contain asbestos.
If testing shows asbestos content (“Detected”)
- Contact a qualified asbestos abatement and disposal company to assist with proper removal and disposal.
- Note: Drywall/gypsum is not accepted at the landfill or transfer station because of Provincial regulations for disposal. No drywall is disposed in our landfill due to dangerous off-gassing.
Warning: If you try to remove asbestos-containing materials yourself, or tear the tape/old mud off drywall boards, you risk exposing yourself and others to this hazardous material. Use a reputable company to reduce your risks and costs.
Effective September 19, 2016:
- Ceiling tiles
- Cement (transite) panels
- Drywall joint compound (testing procedures already in effect; see above)
- Fire retardant cement board (not HardiePlank)
- Flooring: vinyl tiles and linoleum sheet flooring; flooring adhesives
- Textured ceilings and coatings
- Vermiculite (no testing required, contains asbestos)
For residential and commerical customers
If testing shows no asbestos ("Not Detected")
- Materials testing negative for asbestos can be delivered to the Sechelt Landfill or Pender Harbour Transfer Station during regular operating hours accompanied by negative test results, within 6 months of the test
- Pay the disposal fee as regular waste from renovation/demolition.
If testing shows asbestos ("Detected")
Materials testing positive for asbestos (other than drywall with asbestos - see above) may be disposed of at the Sechelt Landfill only. It is recommended to contact a qualified asbestos abatement and disposal company to assist with proper removal and disposal. The Sechelt Landfill requires the following disposal procedures:
1. Bag using 6 mil clear bags
Fill bag so you can easily lift with one hand to shoulder height. For long pipes, seal broken ends in 6 mil plastic.
2. Securely seal
Twist the unused top portion of bag into a tail, seal with duct tape at the base of the tail, bend leftover tail section around to make a loop, attach to base of the tail using duct tape.
3. Double bag
Place the first bag into the second bag and repeat sealing procedure. Wipe outside of bags with wet cloth.
4. Clearly label as asbestos
5. Schedule drop-off
Call the Sechelt Landfill to schedule your drop-off. Scheduling may take 24-72 hours after you have made contact to confirm the delivery time. Landfill staff need extra time to arrange for special landfilling procedures. Waste asbestos is only accepted Tuesday to Friday from 10am to 2pm. If you must cancel, please inform landfill staff by 9 am of the morning of your scheduled drop-off.
6. Deliver load & bring test results
Your load must have a copy of certified asbestos test results. The disposal fee for Waste Asbestos applies ($275/tonne).
1. Who is at risk of asbestos exposure?
Asbestos was added to over 3,000 building materials. Workers and homeowners who renovate or demolish buildings are at risk of being exposed to asbestos fibres. Although asbestos was phased out in Canada in the 1990’s, it was not banned.
2. Is asbestos still mined?
In Canada the last operating asbestos mine stopped production in 2012 due to financial issues. Mining of asbestos has not yet been banned in Canada. Asbestos is still mined in approximately ½ dozen countries. Canada has not prohibited the importation of materials containing asbestos. Imported building materials, consumer goods, and brake pads may still contain asbestos.
3. How can I tell if a material contains asbestos?
Unfortunately, it’s hard to know if you’re working with asbestos because it is often mixed with other materials. The only way to know for certain is to have the material tested by a qualified professional. Click here for WorkSafeBC's Potential Sources of Asbestos in the Home.
4. Why is asbestos a concern?
If left intact, materials containing asbestos are not a health risk. However, when damaged or disturbed, asbestos fibers are released into the air. Because asbestos fibres are so small they are easily inhaled and stay airborne for hours or even days. Repeated exposure can lead to lung cancer and other lethal asbestos-related diseases.
5. My house was built after 1990, why do I still have to have the materials tested?
Imported building materials may contain asbestos. Testing the materials, including drywall/gypsum helps to protect the health and safety of the Landfill and Transfer Station employees. Also, the BC Ministry of Environment does not allow the Sechelt Landfill to accept drywall containing asbestos, which the test results will confirm. Additionally, the drywall/gypsum recycling facility requires asbestos testing and only accepts drywall with "negative" test results.
6. Why can't I bring my drywall/gypsum that contains asbestos to the Sechelt Landfill?
The BC Ministry of Environment does not allow the Sechelt Landfill to accept drywall containing asbestos.
7. How can I find a qualified professional?
List of companies
The list is provided for convenience and is not necessarily complete. Please note that the SCRD does not endorse any of the companies listed.
8. How is testing done?
Samples of building materials that may be disturbed or damaged during a renovation or demolition are taken and sent to a certified laboratory for testing.
9. How much does testing cost?
Cost depends on the number of samples that need to be tested and how quickly the test results are needed. On average the cost for one sample with results within a week will be around $75.
10. How many samples are needed?
The number of samples will vary depending on your project. The qualified professional will know which materials need to be sampled and how many samples to take.
11. What if my renovation will take longer than 6 months?
(negative test results are valid for 6 months)
Please contact the Solid Waste Operations Supervisor at 604-885-6800 to discuss options.
12. Does the testing requirements apply to commercial loads?
Yes, testing requirements apply to any load that contains of the materials identified above.