What Is the Difference Between Asbestos Removal/Disposal, Decontamination, Abatement and Remediation

October 29th, 2022 | in Asbestos
What Is the Difference Between Asbestos Removal/Disposal, Decontamination, Abatement and Remediation

When we speak of managing hazardous materials there are many technical terms that we hear over and over. For example, regarding asbestos and lead, there is removal, disposal, decontamination, abatement and remediation. But what do all these terms mean? Do they mean the same things? 

In today’s blog we are going to take a close look at these terms and try to explain them for a lay audience. 

When older buildings or facilities are being renovated or demolished, often there are hazardous materials such as asbestos and lead that need to be addressed. Asbestos is extremely toxic, especially when it is released into the air. So, if there is the slightest suggestion that asbestos may be present, then "qualified" hazardous material professionals come in to perform a survey, take samples and have samples tested. Typically, the age of a building or facility will raise red flags for further investigation. In BC that age is generally 1992.

Assessment and Testing 

First, the professionals will take samples of different building materials, like paint or drywall or ceiling tiles or flooring, and they will send it out to an approved analytical laboratory to be tested and determine if asbestos is present. These persons will also decide what the risk is to remove the hazardous materials as opposed to managing it in place, if practical. 

Next Steps 

Once the asbestos has been identified, the professionals will recommend that the hazardous material either be managed in place or removed and disposed of. Disposal of asbestos requires special protocols for the handling transport and disposition. Managing in place comes with numerous responsibilities and potential liabilities.


Decontamination, not to be confused with general cleaning is a demanding process of removing or neutralizing certain hazardous materials from buildings and/or facilities. Contaminated materials are most often neutralized, removed or abated by skilled technicians expressly trained in the work using specialized equipment, methods and procedures. Contaminants can include a broad spectrum of materials including asbestos, lead paint, mercury, PCBs, heavy metals dust, chemicals, viruses and radioactive substances.


Abatement in broad terms just refers to handling the asbestos properly, usually removal.


Remediation refers to having a strategy involving the removal or decontamination of a hazard or pollutant and typically refers to the action of remedying the hazard.

Hazardous materials abatement is our business, and we are available to help you if you are facing a situation such as an asbestos problem described above. We can be reached toll-free in Surrey, BC at (888) 296-2499.   


Enviro-Vac is one of the oldest privately owned environmental contractors in Canada offering a full suite of services in hazardous materials abatement and decontamination including shrink- wrap containments and industrial vacuum services. Enviro-Vac are available to work both small and large- scale projects across Canada. The head office is based in Surrey, BC. 

If you have any questions about this article or would like to talk to us about hazardous materials abatement, decontamination or shrink-wrap solutions, please call us on our toll-free number, (888) 296-2499.

Learn more about how
Enviro-vac can help