Learn the proper management of construction and demolition waste

July 1, 1993

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The safe and proper management of construction or demolition waste can be complicated and confusing. Builders and contractors are advised to learn and follow the laws, or face serious fines.

Construction and demolition (C&D) debris is nonhazardous, uncontaminated material resulting from construction, remodeling, repair or demolition of utilities, structures and roads. These materials include the following: bricks, concrete, and other masonry materials, soil, rock, wood, including nonhazardous painted, treated, and coated wood and wood products, wall coverings, plaster, drywall, plumbing fixtures, non-asbestos insulation, roofing shingles and other roof coverings, reclaimed asphalt pavement, glass, plastics that do not conceal waste, electrical wiring and components that do not contain hazardous substances, piping, metal materials incidental to any of the materials mentioned.

C & D debris may not be burned or buried, and generally needs to be hauled to a permitted sanitary landfill. It can be transported to a permitted facility by any hauler. The hauler is not required to have a special waste haulers’ permit. You should first call the disposal facility to determine if it accepts C & D debris.

If it is suspected that the materials contain asbestos, precautions should be taken during demolition. It is best to hire a qualified inspector to inspect the building for asbestos-containing material prior to any renovation or demolition activity. (This is required, along with IEPA permits, if the structure has been or will be used as a commercial property or if the fire department plans to use the structure for training.) Wetting of the structure to reduce airborne particulate matter during demolition along with bagging and labeling the waste, and the sealing of trucks or containers during transport to landfills is also recommended for the protection of those involved. Call the landfill to let them know that the C & D waste may contain asbestos. The waste will be placed in a particular area at the landfill, and covered right away.

If lead-based paint was removed from the substrate of a residence, the paint chips must be containerized, a liner must be used over the soil and any contaminated soil must be sent to a permitted sanitary landfill as general refuse. If the C & D debris containing lead-based paint still adhered to the substrate is generated from non-residential structures, then the waste may be handled as general refuse. If the lead-based paint from a non-residential structure is removed from the substrate to which it was adhered, then the lead-based paint is a special waste and may also be a hazardous waste depending on the results of the TCLP (Toxic Leachate Characteristic Procedure). A representative sample must be taken and tested at a laboratory for TCLP lead. There are additional requirements for non-residential structures.

Excavators should note that the burning and burial of waste is not allowed. A common practice has been to dig a hole, demolish a building, push the building into the hole, burn it and bury what is left. This is illegal. The only items that can be buried under certain conditions are clean C & D debris. Clean C & D debris may be used as fill outside of a setback zone if the fill is placed no higher than the highest point of elevation immediately adjacent to the fill area. It must also be covered by sufficient soil to support vegetation within 30 days or covered by a road or structure. Clean C & D debris includes the following uncontaminated materials: broken concrete without protruding metal bars, bricks, rocks, stone, reclaimed asphalt pavement, and dirt or sand generated from construction or demolition activity. Also, broken concrete without protruding metal bars can be used for erosion control.

Certain C & D materials can be separated and salvaged rather than disposed. These materials can be used on another project, or made available to others. This must be done within a reasonable amount of time (usually within a year) before the material is considered abandoned and the activity may be considered open dumping of waste, which is prohibited.

Recycling C & D debris can save money and reduce the amount of waste disposed of in landfills. Wood, aluminum and other metals, concrete and corrugated cardboard can be recycled in our area.

Although it can be difficult, the amount of C & D debris generated can be reduced by carefully estimating the amount of raw materials needed for construction activities at the site and making sure the correct amount of materials is delivered.

For more information about construction and demolition debris, or to obtain the required IEPA permits for commercial properties, call the Ogle County Solid Waste Management Department at (815) 732-4020.

From the April 5-11, 2006, issue

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