Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous material that was used extensively in the construction industry from the 1950s to the 1990s because of its high strength and resistance to heat, fire and chemical damage. It is found in over 3000 products including spray applied fireproofing, mechanical insulation, vermiculite, linoleum, floor tiles, drywall taping compound and a variety of other materials. Because it's found in so many common building products, it can be a danger hiding in plain sight in many homes.
When asbestos is disturbed during a demo or reno, it becomes a danger to everyone working on your property. Inhalation of asbestos contaminated air is a major health risk and can lead to serious and chronic health problems such as mesothelioma, asbestosis and pleural thickening. From 2006 to 2015, 584 workers died in B.C. from diseases related to asbestos exposure, and more than 400 workers reported being exposed to asbestos in 2015.
Asbestos should only be removed by a qualified professional. To contact a professional for testing, abatement, removal or disposal of asbestos containing materials please click here.
Asbestos detection is very difficult unless the material is labeled and positive identification can only be confirmed or denied by way of laboratory analysis using a microscope. As a result, consultation with a professional is always recommended. Several Vancouver Island based businesses offer testing and / or abatement services. A non-comprehensive list is presented at the bottom of this page.
You can prevent asbestos exposure by knowing if your property is at risk for asbestos and making sure that asbestos-containing materials are properly identified and removed before anyone starts work on your reno or demo.
The Occupational Health and Safety Regulation contains legal requirements that must be met by all workplaces under the jurisdiction of WorkSafeBC. Part 20.112 of this regulation requires that all hazardous materials found to be in the way of planned work, including asbestos, be identified prior to the commencement of construction and / or renovation work. These hazardous materials must be either safely contained or removed by a qualified contractor employing WorkSafeBC approved procedures. See information regarding Part 20.112 of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation.
Within the CVRD, a Hazardous Materials Declaration form must be completed and submitted in conjunction with an application for a Building Permit where the proposed works include alterations or renovations within an existing structure or the demolition of a structure. See the declaration document.
Commercial materials containing asbestos are those delivered to the landfill by someone other than the homeowner, such as an individual or company that receives compensation for its removal.
Asbestos containing materials (ACM) that contain 0.5 per cent or more asbestos by weight at time of manufacture, or any vermiculite insulation containing asbestos, must be properly contained and disposed of at an approved facility according to WorkSafeBC’s Occupation Health and Safety Regulation.
What you need to know to dispose of asbestos containing materials in the Comox Strathcona Waste Management area:
- All commercial ACM must be double-bagged in 6 mil asbestos bags and brought to the Campbell River Waste Management Centre in Campbell River.
- Commercial loads of ACM are accepted by appointment only, at the CRWMC on Thursdays and Fridays from 8:30am to 3:00pm. Contact us before 11 am on the day of your drop-off if you need to cancel.
- All friable and non-friable loads of more than 5 kg of material, will require a hazardous waste movement document or manifest, as per the Ministry of Environment
- All commercial customers are required to review and follow our commercial asbestos disposal policy
What you need to know to dispose of residential materials containing asbestos in the Comox Strathcona Waste Management area:
- Asbestos disposal bags meeting Worksafe BC standards are available for purchase at the Comox Valley Waste Management Centre and the Campbell River Waste Management Centre at a cost of $2 per bag ($2.25 including tax each)
- Should you wish to purchase one of these bags, please familiarize yourself with the asbestos safety brochure and information sheet which will be provided to you at the time of your purchase.
- Residents with 9 bags or less of ACM can bring their bags to the Campbell River Waste Management Centre between 8:30 am and 4:30 pm Monday to Friday (excluding holidays).
- An ACM disposal application must be completed and approved by Comox Valley Regional District in advance of arrival at the Campbell River Waste Management Center. The forms are available in person at the CVRD office and once completed can be emailed returned to the CVRD office for approval.
- More than 10 bags of ACM requires prior approval. Please phone 250-334-6016 to make arrangements for disposal. Customers who arrive without prior approval will be turned away.
- All residential customers are required to review and follow our residential asbestos disposal policy.
- Residents and commercial haulers from the CSWM service area may also transport material containing asbestos to the Victoria Hartland landfill. See the Victoria Hartland landfill’s web page for important information regarding asbestos and asbestos disposal.
Asbestos is a health hazard and if you are unsure if a material contains asbestos, it is best to contact your contractor or a local laboratory who can conduct a test to confirm (a list of labs is provided below). In general, houses constructed before 1990 likely contain asbestos. For examples of materials that contain asbestos, visit WorkSafe BC's website.
For more information on asbestos transport and containment requirements, visit the Ministry of Environment's (MoE) links:
- MoE - Hazardous waste
- MoE - Hazardous waste Transport License Process
- MoE - BC Hazardous Waste Regulation
For information on the health risks associated with this material, visit: