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Asbestos and Demolition

If you are planning a remodeling or demolition project in Island, Skagit, or Whatcom counties that includes or could include asbestos removal, you must notify the Northwest Clean Air Agency in writing before you start.  You may be required to hire an inspector who is specially trained and certified to do asbestos surveys. Here, you’ll find information about how to safely conduct an asbestos removal project.

Where to Start — Demolition and Renovations

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is the name of a group of naturally occurring fibrous minerals that have historically been used in over 4,000 building products. Inhaling asbestos fibers can cause cancer and related diseases.

Naturally Occurring Asbestos

How is Asbestos Removed?

Because of the health risks associated with inhaling asbestos fibers, you may be required to hire a specially certified building inspector to survey a renovation or demolition project prior to beginning work. Inspectors certified according to the requirements of the Asbestos Hazards Emergency Response Act (AHERA) are trained to do asbestos surveys. An asbestos survey identifies materials likely to contain asbestos that will be disturbed or need to be removed in order to complete your project. Once identified, those materials will be sampled and sent to a lab to determine if asbestos is present. If the material contains more than 1 percent asbestos, proper techniques must be used to minimize the risk of exposure and to dispose of the materials safely.

Remember, every asbestos situation may be different. Understand your responsibilities as a property owner or contractor and use appropriate methods for asbestos removal. If you have questions, please contact us to discuss the specifics of your project.

Want more information about removal? Click here for procedures for common removal applications, such as convection and forced-air furnace systems, cement asbestos board siding, vinyl asbestos tile, and spray-on popcorn ceilings.

A Homeowner’s Guide

How to properly remove spray-on popcorn ceilings

How to Properly remove cement asbestos board siding

How to properly remove sheet vinyl flooring with asbesetos

What Asbestos Permits Do I Need?

Owners of commercial buildings, apartments, multifamily homes, and rental units are specifically required to use only Washington state-certified asbestos abatement contractors for asbestos removal. Homeowners working on a single-family home they own and occupy are exempt from asbestos worker certification, but all other rules apply.


Complying with asbestos laws, rules and regulations is essential to protecting your health and the health of others.

At the Northwest Clean Air Agency, one of our best compliance tools is the required notification submitted by homeowners, contractors and workers overseeing asbestos projects at businesses. These notifications help us make sure the people who will be interacting with asbestos know how to do it safely. Our inspectors will provide information to people working with asbestos, conduct random inspections of asbestos projects, and cooperate with other local, state and government agencies to be sure asbestos requirements are followed.


We prioritize high-risk projects – such as demolition or remodeling at schools or public facilities – for inspections. We have also worked with local transfer stations so they recognize demolition materials that are likely to contain asbestos. Transfer stations won’t accept this demolition waste without proof that the Northwest Clean Air Agency has been notified of the project.

NWCAA asbestos regulations – See Section 570

Additional Resources