MANAGING CONSTRUCTION AND DEMOLITION WASTE

Solid Waste Management Program fact sheet
05/2021
Division of Environmental Quality Director: Ed Galbraith
PUB2045

This guidance is provided primarily for construction, renovation and demolition contractors, roofing contractors, remodeling businesses, waste haulers, homebuilders and homeowners. Cities and counties that issue building permits may also find this fact sheet helpful. The guidance covers only materials and wastes commonly produced during building construction, renovation and demolition. For information on the management of surface coatings removed from bridges, water towers or other similar outdoor structures, refer to the department’s fact sheet, Environmental Regulations for Paint Removal on Outdoor Structures - PUB0118.

Management and Disposal Requirements

During construction, renovation and demolition activities you may produce one or more of the following types of materials. Management and disposal requirements differ for each of them:

Clean fill

Clean fill material is uncontaminated soil, rock, sand, gravel, concrete, asphaltic concrete, cinderblocks, brick, minimal amounts of wood and metal, and inert (non-reactive) solids approved by rule or the department for fill, reclamation or other beneficial use. Minimal amounts of wood and metal means the smallest amount possible. For example, reinforced concrete, which contains wire mesh or rebar, may be used as clean fill, but the exposed rebar must be removed before use. Asphaltic concrete that is planned for use as fill should not be crushed or ground to minimize leaching of any chemicals and toxic metals from the material. Mixed fill materials containing more than minimal amounts of wood and metal wastes, roofing shingles, sheet rock, or other construction and demolition wastes are not considered clean fill.

Placement of clean fill materials may be subject to requirements of the department's Water Protection Branch, particularly if it is placed in contact with surface or subsurface waters of the state or if it would otherwise violate water quality standards. For questions about clean fill material placement, contact the Water Protection Program at 573-751-1300. Note:  Municipalities and county government departments may also have restrictions or requirements concerning the use of clean fill materials; check with these entities before beginning a fill project.

Recovered materials

Recovered materials are those wastes that have been removed for reuse (lumber, doors, windows, ceramic tile, and glass) and also items that are removed to be made into new products. Potentially recyclable construction, renovation and demolition wastes may include scrap metals, asphalt shingles, sheet rock, lumber, glass, and electrical wire. However, if materials are removed from the property where they were generated, the recovered materials must be re-used or repurposed into an item(s) for a different use(s) and not simply dumped or used as fill.

If you plan to remove reusable or recyclable materials from construction and demolition waste, the sorting must take place at the construction or demolition site. The wastes cannot be hauled from the site and dumped for later sorting, except at a permitted processing facility or at a facility that has received an approved permit exemption from the Waste Management Program. Although the department strongly encourages the recovery or recycling of potential waste materials whenever possible, these activities must be conducted legally.

Prior to separating certain wastes out to be reused or recycled into different products, research the materials and determine if there is a demand or market for the product(s) you plan to create from the recycled waste. The department’s Waste Management Program has information regarding many recycling facilities in Missouri. You may contact the program at 573-751-5401 or search the Missouri Materials Management Directory for more information.

Regulated (non-hazardous) construction, renovation and demolition wastes

Regulated non-hazardous construction, renovation and demolition wastes are those that do not meet the definition of clean fill and, for whatever reason, are not able to be recovered for reuse or recycling. Some examples of these wastes are insulation, drywall, wooden paneling, carpet padding, carpeting, linoleum, etc. These construction and demolition wastes must be disposed at a permitted solid waste landfill or processing facility.

Remember these key requirements about regulated non-hazardous construction and demolition wastes:


If wastes are burned, buried, or hauled then burned and/ or buried as described in the scenarios above, everyone involved, including the contractor(s), subcontractor(s), waste hauler(s) and the landowner(s) where the burial, dumping, and/or burning occurs may be held liable for these illegal actions (See Sections 260.210, 260.211 and 260.212 RSMo).

Hazardous materials and hazardous wastes

Although you may find a variety of hazardous materials in old buildings, lead-based paint and universal wastes (e.g., mercury-containing equipment and lamps) are usually the most common hazardous wastes that require special handling by demolition contractors. Hazardous wastes resulting from construction, renovation, and demolition activities at small and large businesses, institutions, municipalities, churches, schools and other structures not specifically identified must be managed according to the Missouri Hazardous Waste Management Law and Regulations while the waste is on-site, in transport, and during final disposal or treatment. Households and farmers are mostly exempt from hazardous waste requirements under Section 260.380.1. RSMo. 

It is the generator’s responsibility to determine if materials generated during construction, renovation and demolition are hazardous wastes, including any materials believed to be clean fill and planned for use as fill. A hazardous waste determination can be made by applying verifiable historical knowledge of the materials in question or by the analysis of a representative sampling of the waste materials. More information on hazardous waste management in Missouri is provided in the Department’s, Handbook for Small Quantity Generators - PUB2174.

Non-hazardous waste must be taken to a permitted sanitary landfill for proper disposal. The waste may have to be managed by landfill personnel as a “special waste” and require the completion of a special waste disposal form. For more information about managing special wastes, see the department's fact sheet, Special Waste - PUB2050.

Building components commonly encountered during demolition and renovation that can contain contaminants such as lead and other heavy metals include:

Paint Residue

Paint residue should be laboratory-tested before disposal unless there is sufficient historical knowledge of the paint types and whether or not they contained heavy metals to make an accurate determination that the residue is either hazardous or non-hazardous. The appropriate test method is the Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure (TCLP), EPA Method 1311, referenced in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), 40 CFR Part 261. The test should include the eight metals noted in 40 CFR Part 261.24 (arsenic, barium, cadmium, chromium, lead, mercury, selenium and silver). Environmental laboratories capable of conducting a TCLP may be found by conducting an internet search of such companies. If one or more of the analytical limits meet(s) or exceed(s) the regulatory limit, the waste must be managed as a hazardous waste.

Demolition Debris

While it is unlikely that a representative sample of demolition debris, including painted block or brick, would fail the TCLP mentioned above, all solid wastes must receive an accurate hazardous waste determination when they are generated. If generator knowledge of the material is insufficient to make an accurate hazardous waste determination, then testing of the debris is needed. Demolition debris should not be chipped, shredded, milled, ground, mulched or similarly processed in a way that would increase their leachability before disposal.

Scrap Metals

When scrap metals are sent to a salvage yard for recycling, it is not necessary to make a hazardous waste determination on those materials. If recycling is not possible, and the metals must be discarded in a solid waste landfill, the metals are subject to a hazardous waste determination as described above.

Universal Waste

Universal wastes are commonly generated by a wide variety of establishments and include batteries, pesticides, mercury-containing equipment (e.g., thermostats) and lamps (e.g., fluorescent light bulbs). Managing these wastes under the Universal Waste Rule helps reduce the regulatory burden on the waste generator versus management solely as a hazardous waste. More information on universal waste management is available in The Universal Waste Rule in Missouri - PUB2058.

Asbestos-containing materials

Certain construction, renovation, or demolition wastes, such as asbestos-containing materials, require special handling and disposal procedures at a sanitary landfill. These special procedures mean the waste will be considered a special waste and require additional steps to ensure the waste is managed appropriately during disposal (see the department’s fact sheet, Special Waste - PUB2050. The landfill may require submission of a special waste disposal request form, along with test results to prove that the waste is not hazardous, before accepting the waste for disposal.

Before planning a demolition project, bidding a project, letting a bid or beginning the demolition process, it is important to know if the building has any asbestos-containing materials, and who is responsible for removing them. All public, institutional or commercial buildings, and in some instances residential structures, must be inspected for asbestos before renovation or demolition activities. Buildings may contain asbestos in ceiling or floor tile, insulation or soundproofing on ceilings, pipes, ductwork, boilers, on the outside as transite siding, or in shingles. The presence of asbestos-containing materials cannot be confirmed just by looking. A sample of the suspected asbestos-containing material must be collected and sent for analysis to determine whether or not asbestos is in a material.

A thorough inspection of any regulated building must be conducted by a Missouri-certified asbestos inspector to determine the presence and condition of asbestos-containing materials. Depending upon the results of the inspection, a registered asbestos abatement contractor may be required to complete the removal and disposal process. For information regarding asbestos demolition, renovation and abatement (removal), please review the department's Asbestos webpage. For more specific information about managing asbestos-containing materials, please contact the department’s Air Pollution Control Program’s Asbestos Unit at 573-751-4817. If the asbestos-containing materials are to go to a solid waste landfill or transfer station for disposal, contact the facility in advance to see if they will accept these materials and find out what special handling or packaging requirements must be used for them to accept the waste.

Other Requirements

Other legal requirements related to managing construction, renovation and demolition wastes include:

Penalties for Illegal Disposal of Construction, Renovation and Demolition Wastes

The Missouri Solid Waste Management Law provides for civil penalties for persons who dispose, or allow the disposal of regulated construction and demolition wastes in unpermitted areas. The law also contains criminal provisions for certain types of illegal construction, renovation and demolition waste disposal. Illegal waste disposal may also result in additional penalties for violations of air, water and hazardous waste management laws, depending on the situation and means of waste disposal. The Revised Statutes of Missouri and the Code of State Regulations give the Department’s Waste Management Program and the Air Pollution Control Program the authority to assess penalties for violations of the Solid Waste Management Law and regulations, the Hazardous Waste Management Law and regulations, and the Missouri Air Conservation Law and regulations.

Additional Information

You may obtain additional information about properly managing construction and demolition wastes from the sources listed below.

On the Web

Additional Considerations and Information Sources

Staff from the Department’s regional offices for your location can provide additional information and guidance on the air pollution and solid waste management requirements for your construction, renovation and demolition project.

Other Guidance

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services - Office of Lead Licensing and Accreditation may provide information regarding training, licensure, and work practice standards for lead abatement activities. Disposal is an abatement activity. See Sections 701.300 and 701.338 RSMo.

Please note that municipalities and county governments may have their own additional materials and waste management requirements that may be stricter than those discussed above. Check with your local governmental entities before you start your project.

If you have more questions, contact:

Waste Management Program
1730 East Elm Street
PO Box 176
Jefferson City, MO 65102-0176
573-751-5401

Air Pollution Control Program
1659 East Elm Street
PO Box 176
Jefferson City, MO 65102-0176
573-751-4817