Working on the demolition of structures in California built between 1950 and 1980 requires careful attention to Polychlorinated Biphenyls or PCBs. PCBs are considered a legacy pollutant and consist of materials such as caulk, thermal or fiberglass insulation, adhesive mastics, and rubber window gaskets.
PCBs are extremely harmful to our environment and historically stormwater serves as a significant pathway for PCBs to travel to water sources.
There are several methods to manage PCBs containing building materials during demolition:
- True Source Controls focuses on the original source or use of a potential pollutant with regulations and laws to minimize risk.
- Source Controls intercepts the pollutant before it is discharged to a receiving water body.
- Treatment Controls remove pollutants via physical, biological, or chemical processes.
At ID360 we work with many local officials, architects, and engineers to understand and enforce compliance regarding PCBs. We closely adhere to the protocol developed and managed by Bay Area Stormwater Management Agencies Association (BASMAA). BASMAA is a nonprofit organization representing 103 agencies, including 88 cities and towns, 8 counties, and 7 special districts. BASMAA focuses on opportunities to improve the quality of stormwater flowing to local creeks, the Delta, San Francisco Bay, and the Pacific Ocean.
We have found the biggest key to success in PCBs projects is to begin communications early! We review materials with appropriate departments, support regulation compliance, and engage municipal leaders early and often.
Significant progress has been made to better understand and control PCBs in the last couple of decades mainly due to BASMAA and other organizations committed to keeping California waterways clean. This area of green building is constantly changing. It is critical for those working in building construction and demolition management, city code enforcement, design, and engineering to stay current in their understanding of the construction impacts of PCBs abatement.
For more information about our work in PCBs building regulation in California, to take our PCBs course via ID360 Academy, or for information regarding any of our other green consulting services visit ID360.green