Asbestos soil contamination may occur on any property, including businesses and residential sites. Asbestos may be present in soil because buildings that contained asbestos were not demolished and disposed of properly, because illegal dumping has occurred or as asbestos-contaminated soil was used as a top soil or fill material. Asbestos in soil is a risk to health if fibres can become airborne so they may be inhaled.
Asbestos contaminated soil was historically managed in a range of different ways, depending on the State or Territory where works occurred. In New South Wales, asbestos in soil was always treated as friable. However, in 2008 with the adoption of national OH&S harmonisation legislation, new practices for working with asbestos were adopted. Today, the principal considerations in determining how to manage asbestos soil contamination include:
- the form of the asbestos containing material, and how readily it generates airborne fibres
- the extent or scale of asbestos contamination on the property
- whether the asbestos is predominantly on the surface or is buried at depth
- the current and possible future uses of the affected land and whether these uses may materially affect the risk posed from the asbestos containing material.
Anything to do with asbestos contamination attracts strict guidelines and regulations, and the remediation of asbestos soil contamination is no different. The main guidelines that cover asbestos soil contamination include, but are not limited to:
- National Environment Protection Council. National Environment Protection (Assessment of Site Contamination) Measure (2013).
- Safe Work Australia. How to safely remove asbestos Code of Practice, (2011).
- WA Department of Health. Guidelines for the Assessment, Remediation and Management of Asbestos-Contaminated Sites in Western Australia (May 2009).
Australian Enviro Services are industry leaders in remediating asbestos soil contamination. If you have asbestos soil contamination on your site, contact us for professional, cost-effective assistance.