Why are properties containing loose-fill asbestos insulation being demolished?
Loose-fill asbestos is raw crushed asbestos, installed as ceiling insulation and has hazardous fibres which can become airborne and move from the ceiling into living spaces. Simply removing loose-fill asbestos from a ceiling cavity does not remove the enduring hazard.
With input from a range of experts, the NSW Government has determined that demolition, comprehensive site remediation and disposal are the best ways to ensure the health and safety of the NSW community.
How is the loose-fill asbestos removed from affected properties?
Demolition is undertaken in a number of stages. Once the site has been set up and the affected structure enclosed in a plastic encapsulation, the loose-fill asbestos is vacuumed into specifically-designed plastic bags, which are double wrapped and removed from the affected property.
The structure of the affected property is painted with a blue PVA sealant. Then the property is inspected and once it is deemed that all asbestos has been removed, the structure will be demolished which takes around 1-2 days. The demolished structure is then removed from the site.
Where does asbestos waste from demolished properties get taken?
Asbestos and asbestos-containing waste is transported and safely disposed of in accordance with the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) requirements. Asbestos waste can only be disposed of at a waste facility authorised to receive it and in accordance with the Protection of the Environment Operations (Waste) Regulation 2014.
Are all structures and materials on affected properties contaminated with loose-fill asbestos?
No. Structures and items that are not part of the affected premises, such as garages, driveways and fences that are assessed as being free of asbestos will be disposed of as regular waste at landfill sites, or recycled in an appropriate manner.
Do any materials on site get recycled?
Yes. Materials from demolished structures not affected by loose-fill asbestos will be recycled where possible. This can include bricks, concrete and steel.
How are the different types of waste contained during transport from the property to the landfill site?
At the affected property, the loose-fill asbestos is vacuumed into specially designed 200 micron thick bags, which are sealed and stored inside the encapsulated premises until all the loose-fill asbestos has been bagged.
Then each bag is wet-wiped and placed in an additional bag and sealed. The double bagged asbestos is then placed inside a Hazardous Materials bag HAZIBAG or a steel drum and passed out into a plastic lined skip, and then onto a truck, the truck is also covered with a tarp.
Bonded Asbestos Material
All bonded asbestos material is also wrapped in 200 micron thick plastic, then sealed and stored inside the encapsulated premises along with the bagged loose-fill asbestos.
Then each wrapped parcel is wet-wiped, wrapped in an additional layer of plastic and sealed in a plastic-lined skip. Once loaded, the skip’s plastic liner is sealed over the double wrapped asbestos, and a tarp is placed over the back of the truck.
Blue Sealant Covered Building Material
The structure of the affected premises covered in the blue sealant is placed in trucks and covered with a tarp before it is transported off site.
Soil from Building Footprint
Soil excavated from the building footprint is placed in trucks and covered with a tarp before being transported off site.
Unaffected Building Material
Items not part of the affected premises such as garages, carports, driveways, sheds and fences will be placed in trucks and transported off site to be recycled where possible.
What if an accident occurs on the way to the landfill?
Incident management plans are in place and will be used in the event of an accident involving a vehicle transporting loose-fill asbestos.
Should an incident occur, emergency services workers, including Fire and Rescue’s HAZMAT Team, will respond and contain, decontaminate and render the affected area safe.
Will the trucks containing LFAI have hazard labelling?
Trucks carrying the loose-fill asbestos will display dangerous goods placards. The particular placard used for transporting asbestos is the Miscellaneous Dangerous Goods 9 label.
Can all landfills accept loose-fill (friable) asbestos?
No. Landfills and waste facilities need to be specifically authorised to receive asbestos waste.
Who is responsible for ensuring the safe transport and disposal of asbestos waste?
Asbestos transporters and facilities receiving asbestos waste must comply with strict safety requirements and report the movement of asbestos waste to the NSW EPA.
Clause 79 of the Protection of the Environment Operations (Waste) Regulation 2014 requires waste transporters to provide information to the EPA regarding the movement of any load in NSW of more than 10 square meters of asbestos sheeting, or 100 kilograms of asbestos waste.