Health District

Air Quality FAQs

  • Asbestos FAQs

    What is an “Acknowledgment of Asbestos Assessment”? 

    The Washoe County District Board of Health Regulations Governing Air Quality Management (District Regs) 030.107 A requires asbestos sampling be performed and an Acknowledgment of Asbestos Assessment (AAA Form, formerly the Pink Slip) be obtained prior to the issuance of a building permit within the Health District’s jurisdiction.  This is the form that is issued to take to the building department (Reno, Sparks, or Washoe County) to receive a building permit.  The AAA Form will only be issued after the AQMD has verified the scope of work to be done i.e. your tenant improvement, renovation or demolition has had adequate asbestos sampling, if required.  Here is the link to the application form Acknowledgement of Asbestos Assessment.

    Note: we are  no longer calling this the “pink slip” because the applicant may be printing off the assessment out of Accela One and not have pink paper.

    What types of projects do the asbestos regulations apply to?

    The Air Quality Management Division (AQMD) of the Washoe County Health District has been delegated the authority to implement the U.S. EPA regulations governing asbestos, specifically 40 CFR 61 Subpart M (National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants, NESHAP).  These federal asbestos rules apply to all demolition and/or renovation activities at all commercial facilities and multi-family residential properties with 5 or more dwelling units deemed a “facility” per Subpart M regardless of date of construction.  The regulations also apply to single family residences when they will be completely demolished to the ground.  An Acknowledgement of Asbestos Assessment (AAA Form) must be obtained from AQMD prior to the issuance of a building permit for any applicable project.

    When is asbestos sampling required?

    Asbestos sampling is required if the scope of work includes the disturbance or removal of any suspect asbestos containing materials greater than 20 square feet (roughly the size of a standard door way), which may include wall systems, flooring, thermal system insulation (TSI), transite materials, roofing materials and structural concrete.    The asbestos consultant will go over the scope of the project and sample all suspect materials.  AQMD will only recognize asbestos sampling performed by an AHERA certified asbestos consultant. Link to AHERA certified asbestos consultant list and Asbestos Consultants and Testing Firms.

    Why does a new building have to be sampled for asbestos?

    On July 12, 1989, the EPA issued a final rule under Section 6 of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) banning most asbestos containing products in the United States. In 1991, the rule was vacated and remanded by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. As a result, most of the original ban on the manufacture, importation, processing, or distribution in commerce for most of the asbestos containing product categories originally covered in the 1989 final rule was overturned.  Only the bans on corrugated paper, rollboard, commercial paper, specialty paper, and flooring felt and any new uses of asbestos remained banned under the 1989 rule.  Although most asbestos containing products can still legally be manufactured, imported, processed and distributed in the U.S., according to the U.S. Geological Survey, the production and use of asbestos has declined significantly (https://toxics.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/sections/202407697-Top-20-Asbestos-Questions). Therefore, the only way to know if a building is free of asbestos is to sample.

    Do I need the Acknowledgment of Asbestos Assessment (AAA) if my scope of work includes no disturbance or removal of suspect materials? 

    Yes, in this case AQMD will verify that there is no sampling required for the scope of work being proposed and the AAA form will be issued stating such. 

    How do I get an Acknowledgment of Asbestos Assessment (AAA)? 

    Submit to AQMD a small set of plans to show AQMD the scope of work along with the asbestos sampling report, if required, from an AHERA certified consultant along with the lab results.  The complete package from the consultant should include a clear floor plan/map showing where samples were taken, the consultants report, and lab results along with the chain of custody.  Submit these items along with a signed application to AQMD at 1001 E. Ninth St, Suite B 171, Reno, NV 89512.  You can do this before going to the building department as we will not keep your plans. The process should take about 10-15 minutes.  We will accept payments Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m.  You can also submit the application online via Accela One using these instructions

    Why can’t I take my own samples? 

    Consultants are a third party, trained and certified to identify suspect materials and how much sampling is adequate for the scope of work.  District regulations require that sampling be performed by an AHERA certified person.

    Additional Information

    Please visit our website at www.OurCleanAir.com for additional information including a link to the Asbestos Regulations (Section 030.107) and a list of licensed asbestos consultants and abatement contractors that work in the area.  The Acknowledgement of Asbestos Assessment and NESHAP Notification forms are also available online. Both forms are processed over the counter and only take about 15 minutes. 

    Additional Questions? Contact the Air Quality Management Division of the Washoe County Health District at (775) 784-7200 or email us at aqmdpermitting@washoecounty.us.

  • Can I have a wood burning stove or fireplace in Washoe County?

    Wood stoves and fireplaces are regulated by the Washoe County Health District because they are major contributors to air pollution in the Truckee Meadows. Therefore before you make a purchase, it is important for you to spend some time researching whether it is legal to put a wood burning appliance in your home. To determine if you can install a wood burning stove or fireplace in your home, you need the following information, then call (775) 784-7200 (AQMD).
    • What is your zip code?
    • What is your land-use zoning?
    • What is the net size of your property?
  • How do I know if an air permit is required from the AQMD for my business?

    Normally, a business which emits 2 pounds or more per day of criteria air pollutants or 1 pound per day or more of toxic air pollutants will require a permit to operate. Different types of air pollution control devices are also required for different processes depending upon the size of the operation for compliance with the AQMD regulations. Applications may be obtained by downloading from the District Health Department Web site. For further information, please contact one of our environmental engineers at 784-7200 for help with the necessary information for application submittal.

  • How do I register an air pollution complaint?

    Just call 784-7200 (24 hours per day) and your complaint will be logged onto an official AQMD complaint form. After that, within "normal" hours of operation, an air quality specialist will investigate your concerns and determine if there is a violation of the AQMD regulations. If a violation exists, the person or business will be required to correct the problem. A Notice of Violation may also be issued.

  • Is it okay for me to burn wood in my fireplace or woodstove today?

    Every year between November 1 and February 28, the Washoe County Health District Air Quality Management Division uses the Green, Yellow, Red Burn Code Program to inform area residents whether or not lighting stoves or fireplaces is allowed, or is advisable.

    Washoe County residents can get a daily air quality update by visiting www.OurCleanAir.com or by calling the Air Quality Hotline at (775) 785-4110. They can also get this update by listening to television and radio weather forecasts, or by checking the Reno-Gazette Journal's weather page.

  • What are the local asbestos regulations for commercial buildings?

    The local asbestos regulations essentially mirrors the federal requirements. If you own a commercial building and want to do some remodeling, an asbestos survey will need to be completed by a certified consultant to determine the presence or absence of any asbestos materials. If present, a certified abatement contractor will need to remove the asbestos before the project can proceed. In addition, the property owner will need to obtain an asbestos acknowledgment form from the AQMD prior to obtaining a building permit from the local building departments. For further information, please call 784-7200.

  • When does the Air Pollution Control Hearing Board meet?

    The Air Pollution Control Hearing Board (APCHB) hears appeals when a negotiated resolution cannot be achieved. The APCHB meets the first Tuesday of every month (as needed).

Call 311 to find resources, ask questions, and utilize Washoe County services. Learn More »
Call 311 to find resources, ask questions, and utilize Washoe County services. Learn More »