Does your home contain asbestos? How would you know? Council is reminding home owners and renovators of the risks of asbestos this November as part of Asbestos Awareness Month.
“Asbestos was widely used in building materials up until the mid-1980s,” said Council’s Group Manager of Planning, Development and Regulatory Services, Nicholas Wilton. “Even though the manufacture and use of asbestos was banned over ten years ago, it can still be found in many houses across our Shire that were built up until this period.”
Just some of the household items where asbestos related products may be found in pre-1987 built homes include flooring under carpets, linoleum and vinyl tiles, behind wall and floor tiles, in cement floors, internal and external walls, ceilings, eaves, garages, around hot water pipes, chook sheds and even dog kennels.
Asbestos removal is a job that’s best done by a licensed professional.
“It’s important to remember that only a licenced asbestos removalist can remove asbestos greater than ten square metres in size,” Mr Wilton added. “That’s about the same size as a small bathroom.”
It’s imperative that anyone attempting to remove asbestos themselves, no matter how small the quantity, take the proper measures to protect themselves and their families.
WorkCover NSW guidelines for the asbestos removal can be found at: www.workcover.nsw.gov.au/health-and-safety/safety-topics-a-z/asbestos.
“As a general rule Council suggests anyone undertaking any removal of asbestos to have a licensed contractor undertake the job,” Mr Wilton said. “If you are thinking about removing even a small amount of asbestos yourself, at the very minimum we recommend all the steps listed at the asbestosawareness.com.au website are meticulously followed.”
The boom in the property market has also coincided with an increase in the number of reports of asbestos being illegally dumped across the Shire.
“Unfortunately illegal dumping still occurs,” Mr Wilton said. “A recent incident occurred at Winifred West Park, next to a public bus stop and barbeque.”
“Apart from the considerable cost to safely clean up such deliberate acts, illegal dumping increases the risk of exposure not only for the renovator but for the wider community.”
“Council has a zero tolerance approach to illegal dumping and any offender caught will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” Mr Wilton said.
Penalties for dumping include on-the-spot fines of up to $4,000 and magistrates can issue penalties of up to $5,000,000 for corporations and $1,000,000 and/or 7 years imprisonment for individuals.
Provided that the material is packaged, transported and labelled in accordance with safety regulations, Council’s Resource Recovery Centre will accept household asbestos. For more information visit www.wsc.nsw.gov.au/services/waste-recycling/resource-recovery-centre/rrc-conditions-asbestos.
“I encourage all renovators to become asbestos aware this November and visit www.asbestosawareness.com.au to find out the sorts of products to look for, where they might be found in the home and how to manage and dispose of asbestos safely,” Mr Wilton added.