SME can efficiently and effectively assess and estimate quantities of the hazardous materials present in your facility, whether it’s vacant or operational or prior to renovation or demolition, to locate materials that can present challenges if not addressed in advance. Regardless of the situation, proper identification and management of these materials is critical.

SME’s Hazardous Materials Specialists work with owners and prospective owners in support of real estate transactions, building renovation/demolition projects, facility closures, site development/redevelopment projects, and ongoing risk management activities in occupied facilities and vacant buildings, to assess the presence and quantities of hazardous materials and releases from those materials. The presence of hazardous materials, such as asbestos-containing materials (ACMs), lead-bearing paints/coatings, polychlorinated biphenyls(PCBs), mercury-containing equipment, radioactive materials and potential biological contaminants can pose a threat to occupants of existing facilities, add complications and costs to building renovation or demolition projects, and present potential regulatory violation risks for owners. Upon completion of the assessments, SME prepares detailed reports that include a summary of the types and quantities of materials assessed, recommendations for abatement/remediation, and/or options for long-term management; regulatory compliance analyses; and opinions of costs; depending on project objectives.

Asbestos-Containing Materials

Our professionals are trained and accredited to conduct building assessments, in compliance with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and state requirements and regulations to locate, sample, estimate quantities, and assess the condition of ACMs. SME’s accredited Inspectors collect bulk samples to characterize suspect building materials and wastes and air and wipe samples to evaluate releases and exposure potentials. We then either perform or have accredited laboratories perform appropriate asbestos identification and quantitation analyses using polarized light microscopy (PLM) or transmission electron microscopy (TEM) analytical methods.

Lead-Bearing Paint (LBP)

SME performs assessments for lead-bearing paints/coatings and assists clients with characterization of proposed waste streams for the paint, as well as coordinating proper abatement and disposal in compliance the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) lead standards. When assessing potential lead-bearing paint hazards, SME uses the results of chemical analyses of paint chip samples to assess commercial and industrial facilities and results from on-site x-ray fluorescence (XRF) analyses and analyses dust wipe samples collected by an accredited Inspector or Risk Assessor for assessments conducted in residential Target Housing or Child-Occupied Facilities. Other assessments SME performs, if warranted, include collecting and analyzing soil samples and inspecting and sampling of a building’s water supply system. SME also performs pre-renovation / demolition screening for LBP and develops abatement programs, plans and specifications and operations and maintenance programs.


The presence of PCBs in electrical equipment or PCB contamination from leaks or spills can create regulatory compliance, management, and/or financial issues. Our environmental professionals have decades of experience helping clients determine if PCBs are present in a facility and then develop the optimal management or remediation strategy. Our thorough understanding of applicable regulatory frameworks and flexibilities mean we collect the right data for the right result. From wipe sampling to concrete core sampling to soil sampling, SME’s experts are experienced using Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and various state assessment protocols and have frequently negotiated EPA approval of alternate, more cost-effective assessment plans through self-implementing and risk-based remediation plans.


SME has extensive experience with mercury contamination. Our hazardous materials specialists provide pre-design assessments to help identify potential problems; mitigation design to facilitate mercury abatement, handling, transportation and disposal; and construction oversight, and the following additional services:

  • Mercury screening and assessment
  • Ambient air evaluation
  • Mercury release investigation and abatement
  • Assessment of mercury contamination in soil
  • Soil remediation plans, remediation monitoring, and removal verification

Related Services