Asbestos

Asbestos is the name given to a group of naturally occurring minerals found in rock formations. Asbestos fibres are strong, heat resistant and have insulating properties.

Respirable asbestos fibres are not visible to the naked eye, but they are very light, remain airborne for a long time and can be carried by wind and air currents over large distances.

Building products containing asbestos are classified as friable (soft and crumbly) or bonded (solid, rigid, non-friable).  Friable asbestos products are dangerous because the asbestos fibres can get in the air very easily and may be inhaled by people living or working in the vicinity.

If a home was built or renovated before 1987, products made from bonded asbestos cement that may have been used in the home include:

  • fibro sheeting (flat and corrugated) in walls and ceilings
  • water drainage and flue pipes
  • roofing shingles and guttering
  • the backing of floor coverings

Asbestos products can be found in ANY Australian home built or renovated before 1987 even brick, weatherboard, fibro and clad homes.  The health risk of undisturbed asbestos products in the home is very low.

IMPORTANT: If fire, hail, or water blasting damages bonded asbestos, it may become friable asbestos material and must be managed and removed by a licenced friable asbestos removalist.

The use of all forms of asbestos has been banned nationally since 31 December 2003.

If you are thinking about renovating, you must be aware of asbestos. It is important to be aware of how to safely manage asbestos in and around your home.

How to safely dispose of asbestos

If you use the appropriate safety precautions, you are permitted to remove a maximum of 10 square metres of bonded asbestos in NSW.  However if removing more than 10 square metres, you MUST either hire a qualified asbestos removalist or obtain a NSW Workcover bonded asbestos removal licence which requires you to attend an appropriate training course run by TAFE or a registered training organisation.   Any loose or friable asbestos must be removed by an qualified asbestos removalist and cannot be removed by the homeowner. Refer to NSW Workcover Fact Sheet Bonded Asbestos and follow the EPA's advice on how to safely dispose of asbestos.

Asbestos can be dropped off at our Buttonderry Waste Management Facility

Asbestos can have serious health implications if inappropriately handled.  In order to protect the health and safety of staff and contractors we ask that the following guidelines be followed to drop off asbestos at Buttonderry:

  1. All asbestos loads must be booked in 24 hours before delivery.  Contact the weighbridge operator on 4350 1320 to make a booking.
  2. Asbestos must be wrapped in two layers of plastic with a thickness of at least 0.2mm (builder's plastic).  The plastic sheets must be sealed using adhesive packaging tape.
  3. Large loads must be wrapped in manageable bundles.  The height of each bundle must not exceed 0.5m.
  4. Asbestos fibres must be stored in plastic bags with a thickness of at least 0.2mm.  Bags must not be higher than 1.2m and wider than 0.9m.  Bags must not contain more than 25kg of waste.  Bags must be sealed by a wire tie and have a label attached identifying the load as asbestos.

Each load of asbestos will be inspected before disposal.  If the load does not meet these presentation guidelines, staff are required to reject it. Your cooperation in receiving and disposing of asbestos in a safe manner is appreciated.

Costs of disposing of asbestos

The facility has a weighbridge to determine costs. Fees for asbestos can be found on the Your Waste Management Facility page. Payment can be made by cash, cheque, credit card and EFTPOS.

It doesn't pay to dump

If you are caught dumping asbestos you can be fined $1500 per person or $5000 for a corporation.  Contact Council on (02) 4350 5555 to report a dumper.

Additional information

To learn more about where asbestos might be and how to manage it safely visit www.asbestosawareness.com.au