Asbestos in Soil

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Uncontrolled asbestos materials in soils may cause a human health risks and environmental risks. Asbestos in soils can attract regulatory intervention from local councils, the EPA and SafeWork. Asbestos is often found in soils due to unintentional accidental damage from demolition works or deliberate illegal storage or dumping or littering.

Management of asbestos in soils can be a costly affair. If asbestos materials are identified on soils, councils may issue a cleanup notice to remove and dispose of the asbestos materials immediately. If appropriate action is not taken by the residents or the owner of the property, the matter can be escalated and may lead to legal action.

Consultants at K2 Consulting Group are qualified licenced asbestos assessors and are experienced in undertaking asbestos assessments in soils.

Steps to manage asbestos in soils include the following:

1. Initial assessment of the site to ascertain the extent of asbestos contamination –

This is a very important step where the degree of contamination and necessary action undertaken will be established. It is worth spending time and resources on this step. If not done properly, the entire project may take a different course and may lead to a budget blowout and delays. Assessment may include in situ testing for soils in the ground (Preliminary Site Assessment or Detailed Site Assessment) or waste classification section in case of a stockpile.

2. Preparation of an assessment report:

An assessment report delineating the extent of contamination will assist in planning the remediation works and budgets can be allocated, and regulatory approval can be sought. This report may be referred to as a Hygienist Report, an assessment report or an asbestos inspection report. This report must be prepared by a qualified person who is experienced in asbestos inspection and remediation works.

3. Decision on management method:

Management of asbestos in soils is based on the degree and extent of the contamination. Besides, the main factor that plays a role in management is the type of asbestos i.e. whether it is bonded (non-friable) or friable.

Bonded asbestos (non-friable) asbestos means any asbestos product that is intact and is not damaged to an extent to cause a human health risk.

Friable asbestos means any raw asbestos or asbestos-containing materials that can be crumbled, pulverised or reduced to powder by hand pressure. Some examples include ceiling insulation, pipework and boiler insulations. This also includes any ‘bonded’ material that becomes broken or damaged by mechanical force.

Bonded asbestos may be found in soils in crumbled or severely damaged form, which shall be handled only by a Class A asbestos removalist.

Friable asbestos is extremely dangerous and must be handled only by experienced and licenced people.

Generally, if asbestos materials can be disturbed and made airborne by a breeze, it is in a friable state and must be managed with extreme care.

Several management methods can be applied to asbestos in soils. Each method has its advantages and disadvantages. Factors influencing the choice of management include financial (costs), regulatory (dealing with local government or the EPA) or ongoing management onsite (potential legal issue).

Asbestos in soils can be managed by the following remediation methods:

• Emu-picking.
• Dig and dump (send to licenced landfill).
• Manage onsite with strict control measures and ongoing monitoring.
• Onsite treatment to re-use the soils onsite (Treated soils must meet strict testing criteria and several factors shall be considered before undertaking onsite treatment, including regulatory approval).

4. Clearance certificate or validation report

Upon completion of management of asbestos in soils and depending on the removal method chosen, a report validating the remediation method will have to be prepared by a qualified person. A Licenced Asbestos Assessor or an Occupational Hygienist will be able to assist in the preparation of this report. This report will deem the subject area clear of asbestos and ensure that the asbestos situation does not pose a human health risk or environmental risk. Know more about clearance inspections.

Management of asbestos in soils should meet various acts, regulations and guidelines which shall be duly addressed by a person experienced and knowledgeable in the industry.

If you suspect a material to be asbestos, it must be tested by an experienced person and should be presumed to be asbestos unless otherwise proven.

Consultants at K2 Consulting Group are experienced in managing asbestos in soils and will provide you with practical and cost-effective solutions.

Our Services

Asbestos Surveys

Asbestos surveys include intrusive (sampling and analysis) and non-intrusive methods of analysis of building materials to determine if the building materials contain any asbestos products. The surveys include careful examination of various building materials by a competent person and recording of the findings.

Asbestos Registers

It is a document that lists all identified asbestos in a workplace. SafeWork States that the “Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU) must ensure, an asbestos register is prepared and kept at the workplace. It must be readily available to workers, their health and safety representatives and other persons.

Asbestos Clearance Inspections

Following any asbestos work carried out, there are requirements to ensure the work area, tools and workers are decontaminated and asbestos waste is disposed of properly. In addition to this, for licensed removal work a clearance inspection will be required before the work area can be reoccupied for ordinary use.

Asbestos Air Monitoring

Air monitoring involves sampling airborne asbestos fibres to assist in assessing exposure to asbestos and the effectiveness of implemented control measures. It must be conducted in accordance with the Guidance Note on the Membrane Filter Method for Estimating Airborne Asbestos Dust, 2nd Edition [NOHSC: 3003 (2005)].

Asbestos Management Plans

Asbestos containing materials identified in the workplace will be managed. SafeWork States that the “A person with management or control of a workplace must ensure a written asbestos management plan is prepared for the workplace if asbestos or ACM has been identified or assumed present, or is likely to be present from time to time at the workplace.

Asbestos Testing

Asbestos containing materials identified in the workplace will be managed. SafeWork States that the “A person with management or control of a workplace must ensure a written asbestos management plan is prepared for the workplace if asbestos or ACM has been identified or assumed present, or is likely to be present from time to time at the workplace.

Asbestos Inspection

Air monitoring involves sampling airborne asbestos fibres to assist in assessing exposure to asbestos and the effectiveness of implemented control measures. It must be conducted in accordance with the Guidance Note on the Membrane Filter Method for Estimating Airborne Asbestos Dust, 2nd Edition [NOHSC: 3003 (2005)].

Asbestos in Soil

Uncontrolled asbestos materials in soils may cause human health risk and environmental risk. Asbestos in soils can attract regulatory intervention from local councils, the EPA and SafeWork. Asbestos is often found in soils due to unintentional accidental damage from demolition works or deliberate illegal storage or dumping or littering.

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To Discuss Your Site Specific Environmental and Occupational Hygiene Issues.
Our Consultants are qualified Scientists and Engineers with over 10 years of experience in specialized fields and understand the relevant regulations and provide practical solutions.