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Acceptable Uses for Recycled Asphalt Roofing in Washington State

Publication number Date Published Date Revised
09-07-074January 2010January 2011
VIEW NOW Acceptable Uses for Recycled Asphalt Roofing in Washington State (Number of pages: 46) (Publication Size: 1MB)

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Author(s) Solheim, Marni
Description Recycling facilities that handle asphalt roofing shingles break the material into small pieces and market it for a range of uses. Ground-up roofing has been used in road construction as bedding under road surfaces, on gravel roads and as an additive to hot mix or cold patch asphalt. More uses have included horse arenas, unpaved home driveways, landscaping, animal bedding, trail construction and other purposes.

Concerns about potential contaminants in the roofing lead the Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) to test ground asphalt-based roofing for chemical composition. Test results indicate that several metals (including arsenic) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are present at levels that may be harmful to human health and the environment. Arsenic and certain types of PAHs, including those present in the roofing, cause cancer in humans.

The use of recycled asphalt roofing in loose form presents risks. Humans may inhale, ingest or absorb asphalt roofing particles and its contaminants. Wind or precipitation may carry the material into water sources. As a result, Ecology expects a recycler of asphalt roofing to obtain either a solid waste permit or a Beneficial Use Determination (BUD) before distributing it for uses in the loose form. To obtain a permit or BUD, a recycler will need to show that any proposed use will prevent exposure to contaminants in the material.

Roofing materials bound in asphalt, as in hot mix or cold patch asphalt, are not mobile in the environment so present less of a risk. Ecology does not expect these uses to go through an approval process under solid waste regulations.
The mission of the Department of Ecology is to protect, preserve, and enhance Washington’s environment. To help us meet that goal, please consider the environment before you print or request a copy.

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Contact Marni Solheim at 509-329-3564 or
Keywords PAHs, water, Ecology, waste, recycling, lead, arsenic, asphalt, beneficial use