The Thompson-Nicola Regional District and the City of Kamloops are working together to bring awareness to homeowners regarding the potential health hazards associated with asbestos. Prior to starting a renovation or demolition project on any home or building constructed prior to 1990, both organizations recommend that homeowners talk to a qualified assessment and abatement contractor to learn about the proper safe-handling procedures for actual and potential asbestos-containing materials, including how and where these materials can be disposed of safely within the region.
“Before someone begins a renovation or demolition project, we recommend that people contact a qualified company to assess for and remove asbestos,” said Jamie Vieira, TNRD Manager of Environmental Services. “They are trained on proper procedures, equipment, containment, and abatement, and they can do air quality testing to ensure that no asbestos fibres are left floating in the air afterward.”
Asbestos is not a health risk if it is left intact. If disturbed, asbestos fibres are released into the air, are easily inhaled, and stay airborne for hours or even days. Repeated exposure can lead to lung cancer and other lethal asbestos-related diseases.
Asbestos can be found in more than 3,000 common building materials, such as vinyl and linoleum flooring, stucco, loose-blown insulation, roof felt shingles, drywall mud, incandescent light fixture backings, and deck under-sheeting.
Asbestos-containing materials require pre-approval to be disposed of, and are only accepted at the Mission Flats Landfill in Kamloops or the Lower Nicola Landfill near Merritt. Materials containing asbestos are not accepted at transfer stations or Eco-Depots.
To further protect workers and landfill customers, the TNRD and the City are exploring opportunities to implement processes in 2020 for inspections of residential and commercial loads of waste construction material.
“The intention is to have personnel inspect materials and share information with the public about safe practices around disposing of actual and potential asbestos-containing materials,” said Glen Farrow, the City’s Streets and Environmental Services Manager.