Wisconsin Asbestos Regulations

Getting the plans together for a renovation or demolition project can be exciting as well as daunting. But whether you’re redoing the basement of your Whitefish Bay home, or you’ve been hired for a major demolition in Eau Claire, you’ll need to know if those walls and other structures contain asbestos, a known carcinogen. You’ll also want to become familiar with the federal and Wisconsin state asbestos regulations to ensure you handle, contain, and dispose of asbestos containing material (ACM) properly.

Why Is Asbestos Regulated?

Asbestos is a naturally-occurring, fibrous mineral that was used in many building materials during the 20th century thanks to its heat-resistant, insulating qualities. Intact, undisturbed asbestos is not dangerous on its own. However, inhaling asbestos fibers that are released during renovations, demolition, deterioration, or other activities can lead to serious illness, such as mesothelioma (cancer of the chest and abdominal linings), lung cancer, and asbestosis (irreversible lung scarring similar to emphysema).

States and the federal government began restricting the use of asbestos in the 1960s and 1970s as its dangers became better known, with most uses banned by 1990. However, since many structures, such as popcorn ceilings, still contain asbestos, there are many laws regulating the removal process as well as emission standards for places like schools and the workplace.

Federal and Wisconsin Asbestos Laws

Since asbestos exposure carries such serious risks, there are numerous state and federal regulations designed to protect the public and limit exposure. For example, people who perform asbestos abatement activity must generally be trained and certified according to Wisconsin asbestos regulations. Additionally, facilities must be inspected for asbestos prior to any renovation or demolition work, unless the structure is a residential building with four or fewer dwelling units.

The following chart provides important sections of Wisconsin’s asbestos regulations, as well as relevant regulatory agencies.

Statutes

  • Wisconsin Statutes, §254.11 et seq. (definitions)
  • Wisconsin Statutes, §254.20 (asbestos certification requirements)
  • Wisconsin Statutes, §254.21 (asbestos abatement in schools)
  • EPA, 40 CFR Part 61, Subpart M (national emission standards and renovation/demolition requirements for asbestos)
  • OSHA, §1926.1101 (federal safety and health regulations regarding asbestos in the workplace)

Asbestos Regulatory Agencies

Federal:


Wisconsin:

Asbestos Removal Regulations

  • Persons performing asbestos abatement or management activities must be trained and certified according to Wisconsin state law (§159.01 et seq.).
  • Owners or operators of a facility to be demolished or renovated must have the facility inspected for asbestos (§447.06).
  • Notice of demolitions at least 10 days before activity begins are required no matter how much asbestos is found (§447.06-07).
  • Notice of renovations is required for quantities of asbestos specified in the regulation (§447.06(d)).
  • Residential buildings of four or fewer dwelling units are generally exempt from many requirements such as inspection (though it’s still recommended) (§447.02(14)).
  • Asbestos waste material must be disposed of according to state regulation regardless of the structural source (§447.13).
  • Asbestos emission control and wetting procedures (§447.08)
  • Failure to abide by regulations may result in enforcement actions and citations between $500 and $5,000 per violation per day (§447.19).

Note: State regulations are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Indiana Asbestos Regulations: Related Resources

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