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Missoula Valley Water Quality District
(406) 258-4890
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Missoula Valley Water Quality District

Department: Water Quality District
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Water Quality District - Hazardous Waste

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What Is It?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring group of minerals that are flexible, fire resistant, and virtually indestructible. Many hundreds of products contain asbestos fibers. Some general categories include: insulation, asbestos cements, fireproofing, fireproof clothing, floor tiles, pipes, brake and clutch linings, potholders, ironing board pads, and textured paints. Some uses have been banned: spraying asbestos-containing materials (1973); certain pipe coverings (1975); some patching compounds and artificial fireplace logs (1977); spray-on asbestos decorations (1978).

What Makes It Hazardous?

Asbestos is often combined with a binding material. However, if the tiny asbestos fibers do become airborne and inhaled, they can remain in the lungs and may cause serious health problems that do not appear until many years later. There is no known safe exposure level to asbestos.

How To Identify Asbestos Products?

Products containing asbestos are not often labeled as such. For information on whether a product contains asbestos, contact the manufacturer, ask people who have worked with asbestos (such as asbestos handlers, plumbers, building contractors, or heating contractors) or contact the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) at 1-800-638-2772.

Safety Notes

More Information

Contact the Montana Department of Environmental Quality Asbestos Program (406/444-1436/444-5286) for information on dealing with asbestos or suspected asbestos-containing materials.

How To Remove Asbestos

Any material containing asbestos should not be disturbed unless absolutely necessary. Asbestos fibers can be released if the material is cut, sanded, drilled, or otherwise disturbed. For a list of licensed asbestos contractors or for additional information on removing asbestos, contact: Montana Department of Environmental Quality Asbestos Program (406-444-1436 or 406-444-5286).

The MDEQ can provide you with information to hire a licensed asbestos contractor. Although you also have the option to legally remove asbestos from your home on your own, this practice is not recommended because of the difficultly for untrained individuals to do so in a safe manner. However, if you choose to remove the material on your own, you must still follow specific legal requirements in arranging transportation and disposal of asbestos. You must wear special protective equipment, remove the asbestos in a specific way, and must properly package and label the material for disposal. MDEQ can advise you on how to safely work with asbestos, and on legal requirements for transport and disposal.

Disposal Options


The Residential Disposal Guide is provided by the Missoula Valley Water Quality District as a public service and is not an endorsement of specific businesses, services or products. Any omissions or inaccuracies are unintentional. Please contact us with corrections or additions. Call businesses or agencies to confirm hours, locations and charges for services, if any. For information on disposal of items not listed, email or call the Water Quality District at 406-258-4890, M - F, 8 am to 5 pm.

Much of the information provided is from the Washington County, MN, Dept. of Public Health and Environment website.

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