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Asbestos NESHAP

Asbestos Projects and NESHAP

  • Asbestos is not banned and may be present even in new construction.
  • An asbestos survey is required prior to any tenant improvement/renovation or demolition of a regulated structure. The survey must be performed by a Certified Asbestos Contractor (CAC).
  • Regulated structures include: all commercial structures and many residential structures.
  • For all demolitions of regulated structures, reporting and fee requirements always apply, even if the survey finds no asbestos.
  • For renovations and tenant improvement (TI), reporting and fee requirements may apply, depending on the results of the survey and the scope of the project.

The San Luis Obispo County Air Pollution Control District (District) implements the asbestos National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) regulation. Unlike lead-based paint, there is no cut-off date for the use of asbestos in building materials. Therefore, all regulated structures, prior to a renovation, TI, or demolition, require a survey. This survey must be completed before any work is done. Depending on the nature of the project as well as the results of the survey, the project may be subject to notification and fee requirements. For more information on the NESHAP regulation, select one of the drop-down tabs.

Regulated Structures and Asbestos Surveys

For projects involving regulated structures, a survey for asbestos containing materials (ACM) is required and must be conducted by a Certified Asbestos Consultant (CAC). To determine whether the project involves a regulated structure and thus requires a survey, use the flowchart below. If you have any questions on the survey requirement, please contact the APCD office at (805) 781-5912. 


If the project includes a regulated structure, a survey must be completed prior to any work being done. See the Survey Checklist for survey requirements.

Survey Review

The purpose of the survey is to “thoroughly inspect” the project to identify any regulated asbestos containing material (RACM) that may be present. The survey must be submitted to the APCD for review if the project involves:

  • The demolition of a regulated structure, regardless of the presence of RACM.
  • Renovation/TI of a regulated structure in which greater than 260 linear feet, 160 square feet, or 35 cubic feet of RACM will be disturbed.

If APCD notification is required, then the project must submit a notification form and fee. Please refer to the Notification Forms and Fees tab for additional information on these requirements.

Note that some renovation/TI projects will require a survey but will be exempt from notification because the quantity RACM to be disturbed is below the thresholds noted above. Although such projects are not required to submit a completed survey to the APCD, the APCD reserves the right to ask any regulated project to present a survey. The failure to provide a completed survey upon request may be subject to project delays and/or enforcement action.


Notification Requirements, Forms, & Fees

A notification and appropriate fee for a project is required under the following circumstances:

  • All demolitions of regulated structures, regardless of the presence of RACM.
  • Renovations/TI’s of regulated structure in which greater than 260 linear feet, 160 square feet, or 35 cubic feet of RACM is disturbed.

All notification forms shall be submitted with a complete survey. For more information, view the Survey Checklist

Click here to see the APCD's PDF of our Asbestos Demolition/Renovation Notification Form and General Information. 

Renovations/TI's and Demolitions Guide

Click here for the PDF of the District’s guide to asbestos compliance for Renovations/TIs. 

Click here for the PDF of the District’s guide to asbestos compliance for Demolitions.

Please contact the District with any questions or additional information at [email protected], or call us at: (805) 781-5912.


Asbestos Contractors & Consultants

Per 8 CCR 341.15, an asbestos survey shall only be conducted by certified asbestos consultants (CAC).

Click here for the PDF list of current asbestos contractors and consultants. Please note, the list is for informational purposes, not a recommendation.

For Contractors

Resources for questions regarding the certification of a certain company, or issues relating to certification:

CAL OSHA for worker safety and contractor/consultant registration:

California Air Resources Board (CARB):

Contractors State Licensing Board:

Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC):

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):

California Department of Transportation:

AHERA Regulation: 

Click here for our PDF list of current asbestos contractors and consultants. Please note that they are not recommendations, just for informational purposes. 


NESHAP Definitions

Asbestos NESHAP
The Clean Air Act, Section 112, established National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) to protect the public. Asbestos is one of the hazardous air pollutants regulated under Section 112.  To access the regulation visit: https://www.ecfr.gov/current/title-40/chapter-I/subchapter-C/part-61

Adequately Wet
To sufficiently mix or penetrate with liquid to prevent the release of particulates.  If visible emissions are observed coming from asbestos-containing material, then that material has not been adequately wetted.

Friable asbestos material
Any material containing more than 1 percent asbestos as determined using the method specified in Appendix E, Subpart E, 40 CFR part 763, section 1, Polarized Light Microscopy (PLM), that, when dry, can be crumbled, pulverized, or reduced to powder by hand pressure.  If the asbestos content is less than 10 percent as determined by a method other than point counting by PLM verify the asbestos content by point counting using PLM.

Load-bearing structure
Load-bearing structures support the weight of the floor or roof structure above them.  They are designed to transfer weight from the roof, through the floors, and down to the foundation.  Interior walls stacked on top of one another in a multistory building are typically load-bearing walls.  All exterior walls are typically load-bearing walls.

Regulated facility
As defined in the regulation, a “facility” is any institutional, commercial, public, industrial, or residential structure, installation, or building (including any structure, installation or building containing condominiums, or individual dwelling units operated as a residential cooperative, but excluding residential buildings having four or fewer dwelling units); any ship; or active or inactive waste disposal site. Any structure, installation, or building that was previously subject to the Asbestos NESHAP is a regulated facility, regardless of its current use.

Regulated Asbestos Containing Material (RACM)
Material is considered RACM if it contains more than 1% asbestos and is “friable”, meaning it is crushable with hand pressure. Examples of friable material include dry wall, “popcorn” ceiling material, and thermal insulation. Non-friable asbestos can become friable RACM when mechanical removal is involved (e.g., ACM mastic that is subject to mechanical grinding).

Renovation/Tenant Improvement (TI)
Renovation/TI is defined as the altering of a facility or the removing or stripping of one or more facility components in any way, including but not limited to, the stripping or removal of Asbestos Containing Material (ACM) from facility components, retrofitting for fire protection, and the installation or removal of HVAC systems.

A demolition is defined as the wrecking, or taking out, of any load-supporting structural member, including, but not limited to, the foundation, roof support structures, or any exterior wall of a facility or structure and related handling operations, or the intentional burning of any facility. The removal load-bearing members such as a foundation, slab, rafter, porch pillars, etc. would constitute a demolition.

The overhauling, rebuilding, reconstructing, or reconditioning of structures or substrates, including encapsulation or other repair of ACM or PACM attached to structures or substrates. (8 CCR, Section 1529, (b) Definitions).  Also:  Returning damaged Asbestos Containing Building Material (ACBM) to an undamaged condition or an intact state so as to prevent fiber release (AHERA).  Does not apply to removal of ACM to perform equipment repair.

Prior to work occurring on a regulated renovation/TI or demolition, a facility survey shall be performed to determine the presence or absence of Asbestos Containing Material, regardless of the age of the facility. The thorough survey is required to be conducted by a Californian Certified Asbestos Consultant (CAC). For more information, view the Survey Checklist.

Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM)
Any material containing more than 1% asbestos, such as tiles, cement, gaskets, roofing and siding shingles, asbestos cement products, paint and patching compounds, vinyl floor tiles and backing on tiles, walls and floors around wood-burning stoves protected with asbestos paper, and hot water and steam pipes coated or covered with an asbestos blanket or tape.

Category I nonfriable ACM
Asbestos containing packing, gaskets, asphalt roofing products, and resilient floor covering containing more than 1% asbestos.

Category II nonfriable ACM
Any material, excluding Category I nonfriable ACM, containing more than 1% asbestos, and when dry, cannot be crumbled, pulverized, or reduced to powder by hand pressure.

Emergency Renovation Operation
An unplanned renovation resulting from a sudden, unexpected event that, if not immediately attended to, presents a safety or public health hazard, may damage equipment, or imposes an unreasonable financial burden. This term includes operations necessitated by nonroutine failures of equipment. Please contact the District to acquire information regarding projects that may be subject to emergency renovation operations.

Nonscheduled Renovation Operation
A renovation operation necessitated by the routine failure of equipment, which is expected to occur within a given period based on past operating experience, but for which an exact date cannot be predicted.

The treatment of ACM with a material that surrounds or embeds asbestos fibers in an adhesive matrix to prevent the release of fibers, as the encapsulant creates a membrane over the surface (bridging encapsulant) or penetrates the material and binds its components together (penetrating encapsulant).

Glove bag
A sealed compartment with attached inner gloves used for handling ACM.  When properly installed and used, glove bags provide a small work area enclosure used for small-scale asbestos stripping operations.  

Isolated Work Area
The immediate enclosed containment area in which the asbestos abatement activity takes place.

The condition whereby any contained solids or liquids are prevented from escaping or spilling out.

Planned Renovation Operation
Renovation operation, or a number of such operations, in which some RACM will be removed or stripped within a given period of time and that can be predicted.  Individual nonscheduled operations are included if a number of such operations can be predicted to occur during a given period of time based on operating experience.

A notification is a written notice submitted to the District for renovations/TI or demolitions subject to the NESHAP notification requirements. Notifications must state the starting and completion date of the asbestos removal work, location of the site, the names of operators or asbestos removal contractors, methods of removal and the amount of asbestos, and whether the operation is a demolition or renovation. Notifications must be submitted with the survey, and all appropriate fees, to be considered valid. Include/ reference project when sending in checks. 

Visible Emissions
Any emissions, which are visually detectable without the aid of instruments, coming from RACM or asbestos-containing waste material, or from any asbestos milling, manufacturing, or fabricating operation.

Waste Generator
Any person who owns or operates a source covered by 40 CFR, Part 60, Subpart M, whose act or process produces ACM waste material.

Waste Shipment Record
The shipping document, required to be originated and signed by the waste generator, is used to track and substantiate the disposition of ACM waste material.

General Information

What is asbestos?
The term asbestos refers to several types of naturally occurring fibrous minerals, such as serpentine rock, the state rock of California. Because of its fiber strength and heat resistance, asbestos has been used in a variety of building construction materials for insulation and as a fire retardant. Asbestos has also been used in a wide range of manufactured goods, mostly in building materials (roofing shingles, ceiling and floor tiles, paper products, and asbestos cement products), friction products (automobile clutch, brake, and transmission parts), heat-resistant fabrics, packaging, gaskets, and coatings.

Was the use of asbestos banned?
Most asbestos-containing building materials were never banned and is still in use in some USA industries as well as some other countries. Many construction materials contain asbestos to this day.

Where can I find information about asbestos removal or building demolition questions?
The information can be found here: https://www.slocleanair.org/rules-regulations/asbestos.php

Where can I find information on asbestos survey requirements?
The information can be found here: Survey Checklist

Where can I find information on renovations/tenet improvements (TI) and demolitions?
The information can be found here: https://www.slocleanair.org/rules-regulations/asbestos.php

Do I need to conduct a survey for a new building?
Yes. When removing any prior building material in a renovation/TI or demolition operations, and prior to submitting a NESHAP notification, a facility survey shall be performed to determine the presence or absence of ACM, regardless of the age of the facility.

Will the District accept an asbestos survey that is 5, 10, 15 years or older?
No. The District will not accept an asbestos survey that is older than 3 years. The survey will be required to be refreshed by a Certified Asbestos Consultant. 

If I cannot start my project on the start date, what should I do?
If the project cannot be started on the date listed on the notification form, a revised notification and fee shall be submitted immediately, and prior to the original start date.

What happens if my notification expires?
Notifications for renovations/TI or demolitions expire at the end of a calendar year. If a renovation/TI or demolition project exceeds the calendar year a new notification and fee are required to be submitted to the District.

Are single family residences (SFR) regulated by Asbestos NESHAP?
SFR are exempted from the NESHAP unless they fall in the following categories:

  • SFR is part of “public housing” or government subsidized housing including Section 8 housing;
  • Two or more residential structures are part of a single project;
  • SFR was previously subject to the regulations (e.g., a real estate office, doctors’ office);
  • SFR is used for firefighting training.
  • SFR is to be demolished for development (e.g. highway, infrastructure project, or commercial development).

Are mobile homes regulated by Asbestos NESHAP?
Mobile homes used as independent (non-mobile park) single-family dwellings are not subject to Asbestos NESHAP. Mobile homes used for non-residential purposes or are part of a mobile home park are subject to NESHAP.

Are SFRs that are demolished or renovated to build non-residential structures regulated by Asbestos NESHAP? 
Yes. One (1) or more SFRs which are demolished as part of an urban renewal project, a highway construction project, or converts a house into an office or store, the demolition/renovation are subject to Asbestos NESHAP.

Are homes that are demolished or renovated to build non-residential structures regulated by Asbestos NESHAP?
Yes. When homes are demolished as part of an urban renewal or highway construction project, or when a house is converted to an office or store, the demolition/renovation is subject to Asbestos NESHAP.

When I notify regarding a renovation, what date do I consider the start date?
The start date is the day that the removal of ACM, or any other asbestos-handling activities, including precleaning, construction of containment, or other activities that could disturb the asbestos, will begin.

If the project involves removing ACM from piping or equipment to perform a repair on equipment, is this project exempt from NESHAP notification and fees? 
No.  The act of removing the ACM, if it is RACM and above threshold quantities, requires a notification and the base fee according to the size of the structure, plus the RACM fee.  Repair refers to repairing ACM, not equipment.

If the project involves removing ACM from piping or equipment to perform a repair on equipment, is this project exempt from NESHAP notification and fees? 
No. The act of removing the ACM, if it is RACM and above threshold quantities, requires a notification and the base fee according to the size of the structure, plus the RACM fee. Repair refers to repairing ACM, not equipment. 

When notifying regarding a demolition, is the start date the demolition date or of the asbestos removal? Which date is used to determine whether the 10-day waiting period is met?
For a demolition, the start date is the date the abatement removal or related asbestos activity begins. The date the demolition starts must also be reported. The waiting period should be calculated based on the start date of the removal or the demolition if no removal is required.

When is a revised notification required to be submitted?
When information contained in the original notification has changed. For example, a revision is required if the start date changes, contractors change, or the amount of RACM changes by more than 20 percent.

Asbestos in Schools

How do I find out if my child’s school has asbestos?
The Asbestos-Containing Materials in Schools Rule, pursuant to the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) requires schools to make their asbestos management plans available to the public, including parents, within 5 working days of the request. The asbestos management plan should discuss the location and type of asbestos-containing materials and any preventive measures or response actions taken in your child’s school. You can also contact the school's AHERA Designated Person directly for more information, or if you have specific questions about asbestos in your child's school. The AHERA Designated Person’s name and contact information appears in the management plan.

Asbestos and Your Health

Asbestos and Your Health

The term asbestos refers to several types of naturally occurring fibrous minerals. These fibers are resistant to heat, fire and chemicals and do not conduct electricity. It can be found in a variety of environments, from natural sources like serpentine rock to man-made sources like insulating materials such as thermal systems insulation and brake linings. Asbestos from either source can be a serious health concern if inhaled or ingested.

Asbestos containing materials become a health hazard once they are disturbed. Intact, asbestos fibers imbedded within construction materials, components, and rock are inert and do not pose a health hazard; however, once they are disturbed, through physical contact such as land grading or building renovation and demolition activities, asbestos fibers may be rendered airborne.

Airborne asbestos fibers are a significant health threat because asbestos fibers are microscopic and invisible to the unaided eye. In addition, they have the physical characteristics to bypass the ability of the human lung to filter air contaminants. As a result, exposure to asbestos allows the fibers to reach deep within the lungs, and may irritate and scar lung tissues.

Long-term chronic and acute exposure to asbestos fibers may cause serious health problems including:

  • Asbestosis, an inflammatory condition of the lungs that can cause shortness of breath, coughing, and eventually scarring of the lungs that makes it hard to breathe.
  • Mesothelioma, a rare cancer that affects the lining of the lungs, chest cavity, or abdomen.
  • Lung cancer.
  • Other lung problems, including pleural plaques (changes in the membranes surrounding the lungs), thickening of the membranes that surround the lungs, and pleural effusions (abnormal collections of fluid between the lungs and the inside wall of the chest).
  • Asbestos has been classified as a known carcinogen (a substance that causes cancer) by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the EPA and the International Agency for Research on Cancer. Studies have shown that exposure to asbestos may increase the risk of lung cancer and mesothelioma.

If You Think Your Home, Building or Workplace Contains Asbestos

  • Hire a certified asbestos consultant. Click here for a list, or look in the yellow pages under “Asbestos” or “Environmental.”
  • Do not dust, sweep, or vacuum particles suspected of containing asbestos. Use only licensed asbestos removal contractors.
  • The Contractors State Licensing Board has prepared a booklet titled: “What You Should Know Before You Hire a Contractor.”
  • The District has free copies of several booklets available on asbestos.
  • Forms for demolition or renovation must be submitted by you or your licensed asbestos contractor to the District 10 working days in advance of any work.

Asbestos Resources

Should you have a complaint or concern regarding asbestos, please feel free to call the District 805-781-5912 for prompt attention to the matter. You can remain anonymous. You can also submit a complaint using our form.

Resources for Further Information on Asbestos

APCD Checklist for an Asbestos Survey

The federal asbestos NESHAP regulation (40CFR61, Subpart M) requires an owner or operator of a demolition or renovation activity to “thoroughly inspect” the facility or part of the facility where the demolition or renovation operation will occur for the presence of asbestos, including Category I and Category II nonfriable asbestos containing materials.

To meet this federal standard, the District requires the asbestos survey report to contain the following minimum sections/information.  Failure to provide the required information could result in project delays and/or rejection of the asbestos report. To help you get in the required documents, we have developed a checklist. CLICK HERE for the Asbestos Survey Checklist.  

For Planning Agencies

SLO County APCD implements the asbestos National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants Regulation (NESHAP), established by the USEPA. The NESHAP regulates the removal of asbestos from regulated renovation and demolition projects, regardless of the age of the structure. We have developed a resource guide for SLO County Planning Agencies to use that better outlines the NESHAP regulation and when surveys are required. Click here. 

For Contractors

Resources for questions regarding the certification of a certain company, or issues relating to certification:

CAL OSHA for worker safety and contractor/consultant registration: 916-920-6131

Contractors State Licensing Board contractor licensing issues: 916-366-5153 

CA Department of Industrial Relations
Division of Occupational Safety and Health
Asbestos Topics
Contractor Lookup (Use Area Code)

For Homeowners

The American Lung Association
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Center for Disease Control & Prevention
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) U.S. Department of Labor
Contact us for more information on this topic.