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The Florida Department of Health works to protect, promote, and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county, and community efforts.

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Environmental Health

Many residential structures and commercial building require demolition for safety or redevelopment. Public health dangers can exist within these structures and may result in public hazards, environmental damage or contamination.  Florida Department of Health in Indian River (DOH-Indian River) performs site surveys prior to facility demolition to identify hazards like asbestos or chemicals needing proper removal and disposal prior to the contractor performing work.  This assures that these materials do not end up in the environment or in the construction debris landfill. Equally important, these site surveys identify sanitary hazards such as septic tanks, and irrigation or drinking water wells, which are required to be properly abandoned by a licensed specialty contractor. Improperly abandoned septic tanks are a danger to the public and improperly abandoned wells can result in groundwater contamination.

Indian River County developed an ordinance (Part V: Demolition Approval Indian River County Ordinance 303.29-303.40) requiring a DOH-Indian River to perform these surveys prior to the issuance of a building permit.

Commercial or publicly owned structures and possibly older residences typically constructed before 1970 have additional requirements. Commercial structures often have been built with materials that use asbestos-containing materials because of the fire retardant properties of asbestos. Asbestos fibers are very small and cannot be seen by the unaided eye.

These very small fibers can become broken off and suspended into the air and inhaled. Exposures to these asbestos fibers damage the lungs and are known to induce or cause several serious lung cancers. When these fibers are in the building products, they often aren’t a health problem. This changes when renovation or demolition is conducted as the building products become broken and the fibers become airborne.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) have specific rules defining how these asbestos-containing materials are to be removed and disposed. Commercial structures are required to perform an asbestos material survey by a certified asbestos contractor to determine if material within the structure could become “friable” or airborne.

This evaluation is conducted on samples acquired by the professional contractor and submitted for analysis to a specialized testing laboratory. If asbestos-containing materials are determined present, again a specialized Asbestos Abatement Contractor removes and disposes of the asbestos prior to the building destruction. A copy of the asbestos survey must be provided to and approved by DOH-Indian River prior to the receiving a building permit. More information on asbestos and the required State notifications for compliance with the Florida Administrative Code 62-257 can be found on the DEP Division of Air Resource Management webpage.

For your convenience, please find the application and instructions for a demolition permit.

*Note:  This page contains materials in the Portable Document Format (PDF). The free Adobe Acrobat Reader may be required to view these files.