Asbestos-contaminated soil typically contains non-attached pieces of asbestos cement products and other material containing asbestos. Contamination is often detected during waste disposal, damage following a severe weather events, building and road construction and excavation, and with weathering over time.
The correct control and remediation measures for such soil can be determined by a risk assessment conducted by an independent licensed asbestos assessor or another suitably qualified operator.
The services of a Class A licensed asbestos removalist will be required when any friable asbestos is to be removed. Where more than 10 square metres of non-friable asbestos is to be removed, a Class B license will suffice. 10 square metres or less of non-friable asbestos can be removed by any person.
If asbestos contamination of soil is suspected in the workplace, the person with management or control of the workplace must cease work immediately. Samples of the material should be taken for analysis and, if contamination is confirmed, the person with management or control of the workplace must minimise the release of airborne asbestos by putting control measures in place.
These control measures include:
- Development of an asbestos management plan for the site and ongoing sampling and/or air monitoring.
- Defining boundaries of the contamination as decided by an independent licensed asbestos assessor or competent person.
- Making sure there is minimal disturbance of the contaminated soil until the implementation of asbestos management procedures.
- Erection of signs and barriers to secure and isolate the removal work site.
- Use of water and wetting agents for controlling dust
- Minimising airborne dust exposure to workers by providing education and training on hazards and safe practices.
- Actioning decontamination procedures for the equipment and workers.