The demolition process and mixed C&D plant operations can each involve encountering hazardous materials, and handling them unsafely can harm health and profitability.
At a 2010 C&D Recycling Forum session titled “Hazards of the Job,” attendees heard from three speakers offering advice on common hazards that can yield uncommon problems.
Melissa Fiffer of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) offered an overview of the agency’s requirements when recyclers and demo contractors encounter refrigerants. Many of these are aimed in particular when addressing units made before 1995, when more hazardous refrigerants were used.
Glenn Roof of Rapid Recovery, Peoria, Ariz., offered attendees a look at the numerous types of units that contractors or recyclers may encounter that require treatment, including dorm-sized refrigerators and drinking fountains with attached coolers. Roof noted that Rapid Recovery uses a device called a “buzz box” that drains and cleans the units.
Tony Nocito of ABCOV Inc., New York, provided an overview of his company’s process to convert asbestos to a non-hazardous material with a different fiber structure.
Nocito said the process offers those wishing to truly dispose of asbestos a better option than bagging it and taking it to landfills, or “bag, tag and store,” as Nocito called it. Nocito warned that those who have sent asbestos to landfills in such a way may yet face potentially responsible party (PRP) problems should those landfills ever cause future environmental problems.
Scott Knightly of New Hampshire-based EnviroVantage provided an overview of the history of lead-based paint regulations and requirements, including new regulations that have taken effect in 2010.
Many of the regulations apply to demolition contractors, but should air measurements at a mixed C&D recycling plant indicate lead is present, the plant operator may have to provide further ongoing documentation.
Knightly said providing training and conducting TCLP tests that indicate the minimal presence of lead may be a preferred way for mixed C&D plant operators to “immunize” themselves from scrutiny.
The C&D Recycling Forum was Oct. 3-5 at the Sheraton Inner Harbor in Baltimore.