Asbestos Rule Variance
Does MDH allow exceptions to its rules?
MDH has the authority to grant a variance to various Division of Environmental Health rules as described in Minnesota Rules, parts 4717.7000 through 4717.7050. This includes the authority to vary certain sections, on a case-by-case basis, of the MDH Asbestos Abatement Rules. Please contact MDH prior to applying for a variance to see if your situation warrants an exception.
Who can apply for a variance?
You must be a licensed Minnesota asbestos contractor to submit an application for a variance.
Which asbestos rules can be varied?
MDH can only grant a variance to:
- Minnesota Rules, part 4620.3710, item A (Training course advance notice)
and, where space limitations prevent compliance with the specified requirements or where compliance with the specified requirements would create a greater hazard, to:
- Minnesota Rules, part 4620.3566 (Cleaning containment area before abatement)
- Minnesota Rules, part 4620.3567 (Installation of critical barriers)
- Minnesota Rules, part 4620.3568, subparts 1 to 4 (Containment)
- Minnesota Rules, part 4620.3569 (Decontamination units)
- Minnesota Rules, part 4620.3571, subparts 1 and 2 (Removal of asbestos-containing material), and
- Minnesota Rules, part 4620.3575, subpart 3 (Completion of abatement)
MDH cannot grant a variance for any other sections of the MDH Asbestos Abatement Rules.
What must be in the variance application?
A variance application must contain all of the following items:
- The rule citation (e.g. Minnesota Rules, part 4620.XXXX, item X, ....) and the specific language in the rules from which you wish to vary.
- The reasons why the requirements in the rule cannot be met. NOTE: Expense is not a reason to request a variance.
- The alternative measures or procedures that you will take to assure a comparable degree of protection to the public health or the environment if a variance is granted.
- The length of time for which the variance is requested.
- A statement that you will comply with the terms of the variance, if granted.
- Other relevant information which is necessary for MDH to evaluate your application. This should include photos, videotapes, diagrams or other documents that indicate the location, type and asbestos content of the material and the presence of space limitations or greater hazards.
When is a variance granted?
MDH may grant a variance if:
- the variance was requested as described above;
- the variance will have no potential adverse effect on public health, safety, or the environment;
- the alternative measures or procedures to be taken, if any, are equivalent or superior to those required in the rule
Your variance application will be initially reviewed by a forum of asbestos program staff before being approved by the Manager of the Division of Environmental Health.
Are there any additional conditions?>
In granting a variance, MDH may attach conditions that are needed to protect public health, safety, or the environment. Keep in mind these conditions are considered an extension of the MDH Asbestos Abatement Rules. If you violate the variance conditions, you are subject to enforcement actions and penalties the same as if you violated the MDH Asbestos Abatement Rules.
How will I be notified about my variance request?
MDH will notify you in writing of the decision to grant or deny your variance application. If your variance is granted, MDH's notification will specify the dates the variance is in effect and the conditions, if any, that you must meet. If your variance is denied, MDH will specify the reasons for the denial.
What if my variance application is denied or revoked?
MDH will deny, revoke, or refuse to renew a variance if MDH determines that the criteria listed above have not been met. You may appeal the denial, revocation, or refusal to renew your variance by requesting, in writing, a contested case hearing under the Administrative Procedure Act, Minnesota Statutes, chapter 14, within 30 days of receipt of the notice to deny, revoke, or refuse to renew your variance.
How do I find out more information?
For more information about asbestos, contact the Asbestos Program at MDH through the internet or by telephone at (651) 201-4620.