Asbestos cannot be positively identified without microscopic analysis by a qualified laboratory technician. However, the trained naked eye can spot materials on the surface of, or in soil that have a high probability of being asbestos.
Generally speaking, asbestos manufacturing waste buried in the Nashua / Hudson area exists in the following forms:
- "Baghouse" (dust collector) waste
- Dewatered sludge; and
- "Plate waste" (sheet scraps/fragments);
- Rolled sheets;
- Spheres; [.jpg]
- Whole sheets;
The waste comes in a variety of colors, including gray, white, black, green, and red. After being in the soil for many years, it has a tendency to blend with its surroundings and may be hard to distinguish from the natural soils. This is particularly true of "baghouse" waste, which is a fine, dust like material.
However, the naked eye, trained by experience, can often detect the presence of asbestos manufacturing waste by also studying the physical characteristics of a site, including the vegetation and terrain. Based on experience, sites with the following features may contain buried asbestos waste:
- Topographic features indicating that the site has been filled;
- Debris, typically in the form of pellets, spheres and/or plate waste, located on or near the surface of the ground, or protruding from steep banks or extending into surface waters and wetlands;
- Scant vegetation and/or vegetation consisting of moss, sumac trees, poison ivy, and/or pricker bushes;
- Hummocks along a forest floor, often in a grid like or symmetrical pattern; and
- Refuse/solid waste items, such as glass bottles, cans and other household items.