As all of Colorado moves forward in cleanup efforts after the horrific flooding that occurred throughout the state, information out of the Colorado Department of Public Health has created some unexpected fallout. In a statement released by the CDPHE, relief was provided for flood victims to hasten cleanup and disposal of flood debris. As out of town companies are sending crews in to help with the disaster cleanup, there are some who are taking advantage of the leniency of the state’s position on hazardous materials testing and disposal to conduct demolition of materials such as asbestos and lead.
Reports have come in from firms that sites not directly impacted from the flooding are being abated without abiding by the strict guidelines of the state for the safe removal of hazardous materials. It is unclear who the real guilty party is, as homeowners are being allowed full control over their personal properties.
As the state looks at the fallout created from the relaxation of the asbestos regulations for flood victims, it is important to understand what the statement from the Director of the Colorado Department of Public Health intended with the relaxation of these regulations.
Because there are thousands of structures throughout the state that have been damaged significantly from the extensive flooding, cleanup is an overwhelming and daunting task. Many of these structures will have to be completely demolished because of structural damage. Others require what is typically done by “restoration companies”. This type of work would include the removal of water damaged construction materials, drying out of homes and then repair to pre-flood conditions. These structures directly impacted by severe flooding are the structures that Director intended relaxation of traditional materials abatement and demolition.
Non-flood affected materials, such as popcorn ceiling in structures that even may have had some flooding in lower levels of homes would not be included in this relaxation of regulations. It is important to understand also that although the state has relaxed enforcement on removal of flood debris, there are still strict federal rules and laws in place including EPA regulations and OSHA regulations.
As homeowners it is important that there is a clear understanding of the regulations, and what if any of the relaxed regulations might apply to each situation. It is also important to understand that companies that are sending crews from out of state may not even be licensed to work within Colorado.
For any questions regarding the State’s position, and how it applies to your home, please contact the CDPHE information line, or visit the website.