Hawaii Asbestos Policies

Despite the small size of the State of Hawaii, its government takes asbestos dangers seriously and the state’s regulatory programs are targeted directly at protecting residents from asbestos-related risks. Health officials are closely monitoring all public and military facilities that contain asbestos. In fact, public schools are inspected every six months for trace amounts of airborne asbestos. If asbestos fibers become airborne, they remain so for a long period of time and there is a heightened potential for inhalation. The inhaling of asbestos is directly linked to development of lung cancer, asbestosis, and mesothelioma. Asbestos attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm warn residents of Hawaii of this danger. Asbestos was used in the construction of nearly all facilities built before 1980, particularly military facilities such as the Schofield Barracks in Oahu, which forced evacuation in 200 due to asbestos contamination.

Other sites with known asbestos contamination include the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, Ford Isle Tower, and the former Vermiculite of Hawaii processing plant. In 2011, Dr. Michele Carbone received a $3.8 million grant for mesothelioma research at the University of Hawaii Cancer Center. This amount constituted more than half of the funding for mesothelioma research from the National Cancer Institute.
Specific Provisions of Asbestos Regulations in Hawaii:


This guidance clarifies existing state requirements for disposal of asbestos containing waste materials (ACWM), in landfills permitted by the Department of Health (DOH) Solid Waste Section (808) 586-4226. Asbestos training and pre-demolition inspection issues are not addressed in this guidance. However, such information may be obtained by contacting the State Asbestos Abatement Program (808) 586-5800.

Applicable State of Hawaii Laws:

  • Asbestos waste regulations, known on the federal level as NESHAPS are enforced in the State of Hawaii under Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS) Chapter 342P and Hawaii Administrative Rules (HAR).
  • Solid waste regulations, known on the federal level as RCRA Subtitle D1 are enforced within the State of Hawaii under HRS Chapter 342.

Based on these regulations, the DOH considers ACWM as a construction and demolition waste that requires special handling. ACWM is also referred to as a special waste.

“Special wastes” means any solid waste that, because of its source or physical, chemical, or biological characteristics require special consideration for its proper processing or disposal, or both.

Asbestos Waste Disposal:

ACWM shall only be disposed at permitted municipal solid waste landfills, or permitted construction and demolition waste landfills, such as PVT and Waimanalo Gulch (Oahu); Central Maui, Ma’alaea, Molokai, Hana, and Lanai (Maui County); Pu’uanahulu and Hilo (Hawaii); and Kekaha (Kauai). Recycling of any asbestos wastes is not allowed.

STEP 1 Qualified personnel select the proper identification method(s) (e.g., prior knowledge or testing).

STEP 2 Complete a waste profile to notify the landfill of the presence of incoming ACWM. Attach test results and submit to the landfill. All ACWM shall be disposed of at DOH-permitted landfills.

STEP 3 Declare to the landfill operator that the incoming load contains asbestos waste. Please note that the landfills may have other requirements for the generator prior to accepting any ACWM.

Goals of the Hawaii Asbestos Regulations:

The Asbestos Program is guided by the following program objectives and strategies:

1. Objective:

To protect public health and the environment from exposure to asbestos through the implementation of the Hawaii Administrative Rule requirements, and the Neutral Administrative Inspection Scheme developed under the federal cooperative grant agreement with EPA.

2. Strategies
a. Respond to all complaints and service requests received.
b. Conduct HAR Chapter 11-501 through 11-504 related inspections.
c. Conduct containment inspections.
d. Conduct asbestos permitted landfill inspections.
e. Conduct audits for asbestos training providers.
f. Identify outdated methods, develop and implement standard changes and amend state laws, rules, and operating procedures to be consistent with national requirements.
g. Secure adequate resources to effectively implement and maintain the program. Acquire state funding to match federal dollars, collect fees and utilize these fees for operating program costs.
h. Receive, review, and record asbestos renovation and demolition notifications and monitor for compliance.
i. Provide outreach services for each program through newsletters, informational meetings, brochures, and presentations to agencies/associations.
j. Implement the asbestos enforcement policy.
k. Maintain State of Hawaii asbestos abatement accreditation, certification, and registration systems for asbestos entities and individuals.

Lung cancer attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm remind residents of Hawaii that asbestos- containing materials are prevalent in your area. If you suspect asbestos exposure and developed a related illness, contact an asbestos lawyer immediately to discuss your potential claim.

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