Asbestos in Arizona

Due to its Southwestern location, Arizona has many deposits of naturally occurring asbestos. Recent reports document at least 103 known locations of such deposits, 96 of which are in Gila and Pinal counties in central Arizona. In 1872, abundant chrysotile asbestos deposits were discovered along Ash Creek in Gila County. Throughout the next forty years, small mining productions were constructed in this area, along with mills and housing, which led to the formation of the Chrysotile settlement. By 1915 there were about 500 asbestos claims in the area.

Mines were constructed inside the Grand Canyon and along the Salt River; it is estimated that roughly 75,000 tons of asbestos were mined from the Salt River between 1913 and 1966. As the result of health awareness concerns, asbestos mining ceased completely in 1982, though 46 former mining sites still exist in the area.

Lung cancer lawyers remind the Arizona public that exposure to asbestos, whether through inhalation of ingestion, leads to the development of many illnesses. The extended latency period of such diseases contributes to their danger, as they often go undetected for long periods of time. Diseases such as mesothelioma, asbestosis, and lung and gastrointestinal cancer are causally linked to asbestos exposure, and are often fatal.

Arizona is committed to protecting the public from exposure to regulated asbestos-containing material during activities involving the handling of asbestos. The Air Quality Division closely monitors these activities for proper notification and asbestos emissions control. The Asbestos National Emission Standard for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) program in Arizona is enforced by federal, state, and county Asbestos NESHAP agencies.

The federal Asbestos NESHAP coordinator who is based in the EPA Region 9 office in San Francisco has sole jurisdiction over all 25 tribal lands in Arizona. The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) Asbestos NESHAP Program has jurisdiction in the following counties: ADOT, Apache, Cochise, Coconino, Gila, Graham, Greenlee, La Paz, Mohave, Navajo, Santa Cruz, Yavapai, Yuma.

The following counties have delegated authority from the EPA to enforce the program within their respective jurisdictional boundaries: Maricopa, Pima, Pinal. These counties within Arizona have additional requirements above and beyond the federal Asbestos NESHAP Standard.

Prior to beginning renovation or demolition activities of a facility, a certified Asbestos AHERA (Hazard Emergency Response Act) building inspector should thoroughly inspect the facility or part of the facility where the renovation or demolition operation will occur for the presence of asbestos, including friable and non-friable asbestos-containing materials.

For all demolitions (even when no asbestos is present) and renovations activities involving threshold amounts of regulated asbestos-containing material (RACM), provide the Asbestos NESHAP agency overseeing the project site with a NESHAP notification at least 10 working days prior to the demolition or renovation activity. Threshold amounts of RACM are:

  • 260 linear feet or more on pipes
  • 160 square feet or more on other facility components
  • 35 cubic feet or more off facility components

There is no state (ADEQ) notification or permitting fees involved with this program for jurisdictional counties. The Region 9 Asbestos Program charges no fees for work on Tribal Lands. Maricopa, Pinal, and Pima counties have fees for their notification process. Some cities may have separate permit fees, and AHERA inspectors may charge a fee for their inspection.

Under section 61.145(b) of the Asbestos NESHAP, a written notification is required for renovation and demolition operations. Only completed notification forms are accepted. For NESHAP activities for the jurisdictional 12 counties that ADEQ regulates, the notification should be hand or typewritten and postmarked or delivered to ADEQ no later than 10 working days (Monday through Friday) prior to the beginning of the asbestos activity or demolition. The address is as follows:

Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Air Quality Compliance Section, Field Services Unit Attn: Asbestos NESHAP Program 1110 West Washington Street Phoenix, Arizona 85007 (602) 771-2333 (800) 234-5677 – Toll Free (In State)

Asbestos attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm have extensive experience working with mesothelioma clients throughout the country. If you suspect exposure to asbestos or development of a related disease, contact us today for a free legal consultation.

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