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Asbestos removal and notification

2019 Wisconsin Asbestos Conference

The 2019 Wisconsin Asbestos Conference takes place December 5-6 at Chula Vista in Wisconsin Dells. This conference is for anyone whose work involves asbestos-containing materials, whether you are an asbestos remediation firm, a construction contractor or consultant, or involved in building management (including schools).

  • $60 for attendees who register before November 15, 2019 ($80 after)
  • $170 for exhibitors who register before November 15, 2019 ($220 after)

More information and online registration is available on the conference website [exit DNR].

Contact the conference host, Environmental Information Association (EIA), with any questions by calling 888-343-4342 or emailing through their website [exit DNR].

Asbestos fibers are a known human carcinogen. Lung cancer, mesothelioma (cancer of the chest cavity lining) and asbestosis (a fibrotic scarring of lung tissue) have been proven to result from asbestos exposure.

The Clean Air Act (CAA) of 1970 requires the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop and enforce regulations to protect the public from exposure to airborne contaminants that are known to be human health hazards. The EPA has since delegated the authority to implement and enforce the federal hazardous air pollutant rule on asbestos to the DNR.

The DNR implemented its asbestos program to reduce the public's possible asbestos exposure. These regulations require facility owners and/or operators involved in demolition and renovation activities to inspect the affected facility before attempting to remove any asbestos, file proper notification and handle and dispose of asbestos properly. Staff offer education and assistance with asbestos issues so that owners and/or operators can comply with rule requirements.


Four steps to a successful demolition or renovation project

1. Inspection

Department regulations require the owner or operator of a facility to "thoroughly inspect the affected facility or part of the facility where the demolition or renovation operation will occur for the presence of asbestos..."

2. Notification

A. Notification for demolitions/asbestos abatement projects

A demolition project that contains any amount of asbestos containing materials, no matter how small, is subject to the regulations in ch. NR 447, Wis. Adm. Code [PDF exit DNR].

The facility must be subject to the federal asbestos National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) regulations [exit DNR]. A single, isolated, residential dwelling unit or structure with four or fewer dwelling units is typically exempt, although all fire training burns [PDF] are still subject facilities. Additionally, this exemption does not apply to residential structures and apartments with four or fewer dwelling units if the demolition is part of a Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT) road project, commercial or industrial development or urban renewal project. Individual demolitions planned at the same time or as part of the same planning schedule are considered part of the larger project.

Some examples of subject facilities include, but are not limited to: bridges, tunnels, docked ships, military installations (including dependent housing), indoor malls, churches, amusement parks, parking garages, nursing homes, jails, prisons, apartment buildings with five or more dwelling units and homes/outbuildings that are part of a commercial or developmental project.

B. Notification for renovations/asbestos abatement projects

In order for a renovation/asbestos abatement project to be subject to DNR asbestos regulations in ch. NR 447, Wis. Adm. Code [PDF exit DNR], the following criteria must apply.

  • The quantity of regulated asbestos containing materials to be removed must be at least:
    • 260 lineal feet of pipe insulation;
    • 160 square feet, or 5,580 square feet of total area, of asphalt roofing removed with a roofing saw; or
    • 35 cubic feet off of facility components (this measurement should only be used if there is no way to determine the amount as it existed on a facility component - pipe, ceiling, floor, etc.)
    These quantities are or will be listed in box #16a. of the notice form. For quantities listed in box #16b., the contractor has determined that the material is and will remain non-friable during the entire abatement project, including waste handling and disposal.

Definition of regulated asbestos containing material or RACM

  1. Friable asbestos material
  2. Category I non-friable asbestos-containing material (ACM) that has become friable
  3. Category I non-friable ACM that will be or has been subject to sanding, grinding, cutting or abrading
  4. Category II non-friable ACM that has a high probability of becoming or has become crumbled, pulverized or reduced to powder by the forces expected to act on the material in the course of demolition or renovation operations regulated by ch. NR 447, Wis. Adm. Code.

The facility must be subject to state regulations. The Air Management Program regulates renovations involving asbestos abatement of all subject facilities or structures. Residential structures, garages and apartments with four or fewer dwelling units are included if the demolition is part of a large project, such as a Department of Transportation road project, or a commercial, industrial or urban renewal project. Individual demolitions planned at the same time or as part of the same planning schedule are considered part of a larger project. A single (one structure only), isolated (not part of a larger project) residential dwelling unit or structure is exempt from the notification requirements, regardless of ownership or intended use of the property. Some examples of subject facilities include, but are not limited to: bridges, tunnels, docked ships, military installations (including dependent housing), indoor malls, churches, amusement parks, parking garages, nursing homes, jails, prisons, apartment buildings with five or more dwelling units and homes/outbuildings that are part of a commercial or developmental project.

3. Removal

Control of asbestos emissions

To ensure compliance with NR 447 the following work practices are required when performing asbestos abatement.

  • Contractors should adequately wet the ACM to prevent visible emissions (VEs). The absence of VEs is not sufficient evidence that the ACM is adequately wet.
  • Wetting that would unavoidably damage equipment is not required if the owner/operator supplies the department sufficient information explaining the situation. When the department determines that such damage is unavoidable, the contractor shall use a local exhaust ventilation and collection system designed and operated to capture the particulates produced by the stripping and removal of the friable ACM. The system shall exhibit no VEs to the outside air. The contractor must receive written approval from DNR before starting the project.
  • All ACM must remain adequately wet when collected, contained, treated for disposal and transported.
  • All ACM must be sealed in leak-tight containers. For materials that will not fit without additional breakage, leak-tight wrapping may be used.
  • All asbestos containing waste material shall be deposited as soon as practical at an approved waste disposal site licensed by the DNR under section NR 506.10, Wis. Adm. Code Out-of-state disposal sites shall be operated in conformance with 40 CFR Part 61, Subpart M, section 61.152.

4. Disposal

All waste materials that contain at least 1 percent asbestos are subject to the storage, transport and disposal requirements in chs. NR 502, Wis. Adm. Code [PDF exit DNR] and NR 506, Wis. Adm. Code [PDF exit DNR], regardless of both the structural source of the asbestos and the quantity of asbestos involved.

Online notification and fees

Online notification and fees

A Notification for Demolition and/or Renovation (Form 4500-113), can be submitted using the online Asbestos Renovation and Demolition Notification System (ARDN). This system accepts notification to both the DNR and the Department of Health Services (DHS). To access the system, you must register on the DNR Switchboard. To submit a notification, log into the switchboard and choose "Asbestos Notification" and click on "New Notification." A page-by-page help menu is available in the system for viewing or printing.

Helpful registration hints

  • Each person at the company who will be using the system must create a password and register to use the system.
  • The password must be activated and a copy of your signature page submitted to DNR. Once the password is activated, it will take a day or two to be added to the system as a user.
  • The facility name and address is your company’s name and address.
  • When asked for the facility ID number, use the company’s zip code.
  • If there are multiple people at your company registered to use the system, contact the Asbestos Program Coordinator to have all the users attached to the company mailbox. This allows all company users to view all notices in the company mailbox.

If you are submitting a Planned Renovation Project to DHS, use ARDN for the initial submittal and DHS Form 00041 for the sub-projects.

As a back-up for the online system, there is an Adobe PDF version of the notification form.


The Asbestos Program's fee structure includes fees for both a permit exemption review and for compliance inspections. They apply to demolition projects where a notice is required to be filed. The facility type must also be subject to the regulations. The fees must be included with the notification and are not refundable.

Single-family houses which are not part of a commercial or other developmental project and are being used for fire practice burns are not subject to these fees.

  • $135 - Demolition with less than 160 square feet/260 lineal feet of regulated asbestos containing material, or RACM.
  • $400 - Demolition or renovations with greater than 160 square feet/260 lineal feet of RACM, but less than 1,000 feet combined.
  • $700 - Demolitions or renovations with at least 1,000 total feet but less than 5,000 total feet of RACM.
  • $1,350 - Demolitions or renovations with at least 5,000 total feet of RACM.
  • $100 - Fire training on residential structures.
  • $100 - Revised projects where the friable asbestos/RACM increases by 20 percent during the course of the project, but does not reach the next fee category.

Ten working days notice is required for all normal demolition projects. An ordered demolition can proceed if the notice is filed no later than 24 hours after the project is started. The notice must include a copy of the order that the structure is unsound and in danger of imminent collapse. An ordered demolition precludes the removal of asbestos containing materials prior to the demolition.

Notification is required for all demolition projects of subject facilities even if there is no asbestos present; this is called a negative declaration.

For fire training burns [PDF] all asbestos containing material, both friable and non-friable, must be removed prior to commencement of the practice burn.

Citation authority

Asbestos citation authority

The DNR's asbestos citation authority, passed by the Wisconsin Legislature in July 2003, allows the department to issue citations for several specific asbestos violations. Citations can be issued for any of the following:

  • failure to notify DNR of regulated demolition or renovation activities;
  • failure to conduct an inspection prior to demolition or renovation; or
  • not following asbestos landfill disposal requirements.

This enforcement tool was developed because many building owners and contractors were not taking precautions to prevent asbestos air pollution before renovating and demolishing structures.

Frequently asked questions about DNR's asbestos citation authority

Is this a new requirement?

No. Citation authority is a new tool used to enforce the existing regulations. It will be used to address the less flagrant violations that often develop into more serious issues.

Who does the asbestos citation authority affect?

Wisconsin Administrative Code states that both owners and operators may be responsible if requirements are not met.

Owners include any owner of a regulated facility. A regulated facility is any institutional, commercial, public or industrial structure. In general, owners of residential structures (homeowners) are not regulated by asbestos air regulations. However, a residential structure may be regulated if:

  • it is part of a larger project (multiple buildings);
  • has ever had an institutional function;
  • will be used for a controlled fire training burn; or
  • has more than four dwelling units.

Even if a home is not a regulated facility, the homeowner is still subject to DNR asbestos disposal requirements.

Operators are defined in short as any person who leases, operates, controls or supervises the renovation or demolition at the facility in question. This includes asbestos contractors, demolition contractors, general contractors, excavators, landfill operators and fire departments.

What does this mean to me?

As an owner or operator, you must ensure you are in compliance with state asbestos regulations. This can be done by either contracting with a company or individual with expertise in the field, or educating yourself on the requirements of Ch. NR 447, Wis. Adm. Code [PDF exit DNR]. If we find you have failed to do so, you may be subject to the citation authority, or DNR may refer the case to the Wisconsin Department of Justice.

How much are the citations?

Citations are $500 to $5,000 per violation, and penalties double to $1,000 to $10,000 with repeat offenses within five years.

Can a DNR inspector write a citation on site?

No. The DNR inspector documents violations on site and requests an enforcement conference with the violator, the inspector and an environmental warden. If a citation is issued, it is processed by the warden at that time.

Why is asbestos a concern?

Asbestos is a known carcinogen, with no known safe levels of exposure. It causes a number of respiratory diseases, including asbestosis, lung cancer, mesothelioma and may have connections to some intestinal and stomach cancer.

Asbestos is a mineral that is used in thousands of building materials. The naturally occurring fiber is added to building materials to strengthen them and increase their resistance to heat. Failing to inspect for asbestos prior to a renovation or demolition means the presence of asbestos is unknown, thus increasing the likelihood that the public and workers could be exposed to asbestos fibers.

How does citation authority work with the existing regulations?

Asbestos citation authority, NR 447.19, Wis. Adm. Code [PDF exit DNR], was added to address three particular portions of the existing regulations. These were chosen due to poor compliance with these sections. The citation authority focuses on black-and-white sections of the regulations that can prevent dangerous situations from arising.

I still have questions. Who do I contact?

For questions about citation authority or the DNR asbestos program, contact the DNR asbestos inspector for your county [PDF].

Stepped enforcement

The department uses a stepped enforcement process to resolve asbestos violations. Stepped enforcement is a series of smaller actions - all aimed to resolve violations appropriate for the circumstances.


State of Wisconsin contacts

Department of Natural Resources (DNR)
Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP)
  • Asbestos & Lead Abatement [exit DNR]
  • Home improvement complaints about asbestos contractors:
    Consumer Protection Regional Office
    PO Box 8911
    Madison WI 53708-8911
    Statewide Tollfree: 800-422-7128
    Madison: 608-224-4960
Department of Health Services (DHS)
Department of Administration (DOA)
State Laboratory of Hygiene - Wis. Occupational Health Lab
Wisconsin OSHA consultation program

Free technical assistance to private sector companies on asbestos safety and health issues is available through the State Laboratory of Hygiene WisCon (Onsite Safety & Health Consultation) Program [exit DNR].

Federal government contacts

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
  • Asbestos information [exit DNR]
  • The Asbestos Advisor [exit DNR] - interactive compliance software
  • Worker safety for private sector employees:
    • Chicago Regional Office: 312-353-2220
    • Appleton District Office: 920-734-4521
    • Eau Claire District Office: 715-832-9019
    • Madison District Office: 608-441-5388
    • Milwaukee District Office: 414-297-3315


Labs accredited by National Institute of Standards & Testing and/or National Voluntary Laboratory
Last revised: Monday October 07 2019