MassDEP Asbestos, Construction & Demolition Notifications

Asbestos is a fibrous natural mineral once used in a variety of building materials. It is known to cause lung cancer and respiratory diseases. MassDEP regulates abatement, construction and demolition projects that involve asbestos.

Table of Contents

News & Updates

July 2019

The agency amended its Asbestos Regulation (310 CMR 7.15), and updated its asbestos cement pipe guidance

See MassDEP Regulations, Policies & Guidance below to learn more about these changes.

Asbestos & Health

Asbestos is a naturally occurring, mostly fibrous mineral that has been used in a variety of building products and industrial settings over the years because of its resistance to heat, fire, and many caustic chemicals.

The physical properties that give asbestos its resistance to heat and decay are also linked with a number of adverse human health effects. Asbestos tends to break apart into a dust of microscopic fibers that remain suspended in the air for a long time. When inhaled, these fibers can cause:

  • Asbestosis, a chronic lung condition that makes breathing progressively more difficult.
  • Cancer, most frequently of the lungs.
  • Mesothelioma, an incurable cancer of the chest and abdominal membranes.

Symptoms can take up to 40 years to develop, all can lead to death, and each exposure increases your risk.

Although certain uses of asbestos were banned in the 1970s, and although very few if any building materials containing asbestos are still manufactured domestically today, asbestos has never been entirely banned in the United States and is still legally sold in commerce.  Products containing regulated amounts of asbestos, mostly imports, are still sold in retail stores. They can be found in structures of all ages in various forms: decorative plasters, fireproofing, resilient flooring, heating system insulation, wallboard joint compound systems, mastics, roofing, exterior siding, and more.

Additional Resources   for Asbestos & Health

Asbestos Regulation in Massachusetts

Good Advice   If asbestos-containing material is in good condition, the best thing you can do is leave it alone.

Massachusetts requires anyone planning a project involving asbestos abatement, removal, or disposal to notify:

  • The Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) at least ten (10) working days, and
  • The Department of Labor Standards (DLS) at least ten (10) working days before beginning work.

In addition to notifying these state agencies, you should check with the board of health, building inspector, and fire department in your town or city to determine whether you need to notify them or obtain any local approvals before beginning work.

Use the Asbestos Project Lookup under Key Actions below to search for notifications filed with MassDEP by community, project ID and dates, location address, and more.

See the MassDEP Asbestos Information & Resource Guide in Additional Resources below to learn more about state and federal regulatory requirements and find answers to common questions about asbestos.

Key Actions   for Asbestos Regulation in Massachusetts

Additional Resources   for Asbestos Regulation in Massachusetts

MassDEP Online Filing & Forms

Ten (10) working days (excluding weekends and holidays) before starting work, you are required by the MassDEP Asbestos Regulation (310 CMR 7.15) to submit to the agency:

  • An Asbestos Notification for any project involving asbestos abatement, removal, or disposal.
  • A Construction/Demolition Notification for any C&D project, except in a residential building with fewer than 20 units.

In some cases, you may instead need to apply for:

  • An Asbestos Blanket Notification Approval, which provides flexibility for immediate abatement that involves long-term or large-scale removal work, or recurring limited maintenance activities where significant amounts of asbestos are present.
  • A Non-Traditional Asbestos Abatement Work Practice Approval which, under very specific conditions, allows you to deviate from normal work practices - with strict health, safety, and environmental requirements.

You may initiate any of these notifications or applications from Key Actions below.

See Additional Resources below for:

  • Emergency Waiver Request Procedures for Asbestos Abatement & Demolition Projects, which explains how MassDEP regional offices consider requests to waive normal notification timelines when work needs to be done on an emergency basis.
  • Massachusetts Asbestos Waste Shipment Record Template, which haulers may use to produce their own four-part forms so each party to a shipment of asbestos-containing material can be given a copy.

Additional Resources   for MassDEP Online Filing & Forms

MassDEP Regulations, Policies & Guidance

The MassDEP Asbestos Regulation (310 CMR 7.15) was last amended in July 2019. See Additional Resources below for the full regulation and related guidance documents.

See also the Material-Specific Information section at Managing Construction & Demolition Wastes.

Additional Resources   for MassDEP Regulations, Policies & Guidance

Department of Labor Standards Information

The Department of Labor Standards (DLS) regulates occupational asbestos exposure in Massachusetts. The agency also licenses asbestos removal contractors, analytical laboratories, and training providers.

See Additional Resources below to learn more.

Additional Resources   for Department of Labor Standards Information

Disposal of Asbestos-Containing Material

There is only one landfill in Massachusetts currently permitted to accept asbestos waste, the Waste Management Fitchburg/Westminster Sanitary Landfill in Westminster, but it has decided,at least for now, not to accept any asbestos waste.

Some out-of-state landfills and transfer stations are also permitted by their states’ environmental agencies to accept asbestos-containing wastes generated in Massachusetts. Five facilities in bordering states are:

  • Waste Management Turnkey Landfill
    90 Rochester Neck Road
    Rochester, NH 03839
  • RED Transfer & Logistics
    173 Pickering Street
    Portland, CT 06480
  • Waste Management Crossroads Landfill
    357 Mercer Rd.
    Norridgewock, ME 04957
  • High Acres Landfill
    425 Perinton Pkwy
    Fairport, NY 14450
  • Casella Waste USA Coventry Landfill
    21 Landfill Ln.
    Newport, VT 05855

Before taking asbestos to a landfill or transfer station, contact the facility to determine if, when, and under what conditions the facility will accept the material. Asbestos abatement contractors licensed by DLS can be hired to remove asbestos and take it to an approved disposal facility. Asbestos wastes may not be sent to a combustion facility or construction and demolition (C&D) material processor.

Intact and unbroken vinyl asbestos tile (VAT) and asbestos containing asphaltic roofing and siding material that are removed in accordance with MassDEP regulations may be managed as solid waste and disposed in any MassDEP-permitted solid waste landfill. Prior to arranging for disposal, MassDEP recommends that the landfill be made aware that the waste VAT and/or asphaltic roofing and siding contain asbestos.

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