Vermiculite Removal Checklist – Know the Law

All contractors in Wisconsin disturbing vermiculite in attics or walls must:

1) Be a licensed asbestos abatement company in Wisconsin – this is required by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services
2) Allow only trained and Wisconsin certified “asbestos supervisors” to perform the work
3) Obtain a Special Waste Profile and disclose the waste is vermiculite before disposing at a landfill
4) Inform the Wisconsin DHS of location and dates of vermiculite removal work prior to removal, and post the notification in plain view at all times when the work is being performed. All contractors should expect DHS Inspectors to show up unannounced during the workday.
5) All vacuum equipment used must be EPA compliant and all vacuum exhaust must pass through HEPA rated filters. Capturing vermiculite waste in an attic vacuum bag that is resting in an enclosed or open trailer will contaminate the owner’s property, and likely the neighborhood. As a result, all air leaking from the bag must be captured and passed through a HEPA filter. This can NOT be accomplished without having the vacuum bag in a fully contained container that is air tight. Enclosed trailers are NOT air tight.

insulation-bag-5

In addition, vermiculite removal work is NOT covered by contractor liability insurance. Homeowners are strongly advised to obtain a valid certificate of insurance from their chosen contractor showing proof of Pollution Liability Insurance. Any claims resulting from damage to property, health, or environment during vermiculite removal are NOT covered by contractor liability insurance.

Testing Vermiculite for the Presence of Asbestos: The EPA has NOT approved a test to determine the presence of asbestos in vermiculite and any such tests results are deemed meaningless by the EPA and Wisconsin Department of Health Services. As a result, all vermiculite must be handled as if it contains asbestos, even if lab tests indicate no asbestos is present. Don’t waste your money on having vermiculite tested for asbestos – the results mean nothing.

Vermiculite attic insulation often contains asbestos and tests performed show that the amount of asbestos in the air when removed by shoveling and home “shop vacs” has been found to be 10 to 15 times higher than the allowed levels. This is a primary reason why the Zonolite Attic Insulation Trust was created. Zonolite brand vermiculite is very common in Racine, Kenosha, Milwaukee, Walworth, Waukesha and surrounding counties. Vermiculite mineral was dug out of the mountains in Libby Montana for decades and then sent by rail to large processing plants in both Kenosha and Milwaukee where it was heated. When heated, vermiculite expands to 10 times its original volume and becomes relatively light with air trapped between its many layers.