There’s no avoiding waste on the project site. Every material and product being utilized on the project can result in waste, as can the alteration of physical environments for the sake of building. As a result, contractors are often up to their necks in waste (literally), and must assess the best processes for safely removing building-related waste to minimize its impact on the environment and public health.
Construction and demolition wastes come in a variety of forms, and understanding how to locate and identify these wastes is integral to maintaining compliance with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Due to the sheer volume of information covering this topic, we recommend consulting our experienced Florida construction lawyers for all of your construction-related needs.
Waste Is More Than Just Excess Building Materials
What is the total make-up of your project site’s waste production? It includes a lot more than excess building materials. Project site waste includes all materials and products used throughout the building process as well as those incorporated into the environment. Some waste can be sourced from decades or even centuries ago since it was already present when you broke ground for the first time. Earth, pavement, organic plant materials, and existing structures can all contribute to the overall amount of waste produced by your project.
It’s important to survey your project site and design plan to assess the amount of waste your project is likely to produce through the building process. This is key to formulating an effective construction and demolition waste management plan. Contractors may want to employ a specialty contractor to provide services such as identification, verification, removal, handling, and disposal of hazardous and dangerous materials (known or suspected) according to pertinent laws. In addition, contractors who work with industrial hygienists will be partnering with a professional who can perform waste characterization studies that can accurately pinpoint the known risks to human and environmental well-being on your project site.
Known Risk: Materials and Products
Materials and products that have been recognized as presenting clear and known risks include:
- Fluorescent lamps
- Friable and non-friable asbestos-containing materials
- Hazardous wastes identified by the EPA
- Materials containing lead
- Medical waste
- Polychlorinated biphenyls
- Solvents, chemicals, petroleum-derived products
- Waste-contaminated materials
Benign Risks: Materials and Products
In addition to materials and products with known risks, there are benign risks that are typically considered safe but could potentially present a danger to a poorly trained workforce. Benign risks include:
- Asphalt roofing
- Doors and windows
- Ferrous and non-ferrous metals
- Gypsum board
- Lighting fixtures
- Plant materials
- Plumbing fixtures
- Stone and rock
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.