Asbestos is the generic term for a number of fibrous silicate minerals. Due to its ability to withstand heat, erosion, decay as well as being both fire and water resistant, it was widely used in building materials.
It was often called Fibro and included in products like asbestos cement sheeting both flat and corrugated, water pipes, flues, insulation, vinyl flooring lagging around hot water pipes and around the doors of combustion wood heaters to form a seal.
If your premises was built or renovated before 1987 it will likely have asbestos used in it. As many as 1 in 3 houses in Australia still has some form of asbestos in it.
If the asbestos containing material is sealed, in good condition and left undisturbed it doesn’t pose a risk to health.
Never cut, drill, scrape, scrub or water blast any asbestos products as this will release fibres into the air.
More information is available at: https://asbestosawareness.com.au
When disturbed asbestos containing material releases fibres into the air that can be inhaled and lead to significant health risks such as mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis.
Friable/Non Friable Asbestos
Friable asbestos is any material that contains asbestos and is in the form of a powder or can be crumbled, pulverised or reduced to powder by hand pressure. (eg. Weathered or burnt asbestos)
Non friable asbestos is any material that contains asbestos that cannot be crumbled, pulverised or reduced to a powder by hand pressure.
Removal & Disposal
Non friable asbestos: If you use the appropriate safety precautions you are permitted to remove a maximum of 10 square metres of non-friable asbestos containing material and correctly dispose of it.
Asbestos can only be disposed of at specific waste sites. The only waste facility in the Dubbo Regional Council area that is licenced to accept asbestos is the Whylandra Waste & Recycling Centre on Cooba Rd Dubbo. No asbestos can be left at any of the transfer stations or other waste facilities in the region. You need to contact the facility on 6801 4900 to arrange disposal.
All asbestos waste must be:
- wetted down,
- wrapped in 200um thick plastic and sealed with tape,
- clearly labelled as asbestos waste before it is transported to waste management facility.
If disposing of the waste yourself be sure to retain a copy of the receipt as proof of correct disposal.
For more than 10 square metres of non-friable asbestos you must engage a licenced class A or B asbestos removalist. Licence holders are listed on the SafeWork NSW website at https://www.safework.nsw.gov.au/asbestos-and-demolition-licence-holders
The licenced removalist should provide you with a receipt from the waste management facility as proof that it was correctly disposed of.
At the completion of the removal you should also be provided with a clearance certificate, issued by an independent competent person.
Removal of friable asbestos of any quantity must only be done by a Class A licenced asbestos removal contractor.
At the completion of the removal you should be provided with a Clearance Certificate issued by a SafeWork NSW licenced asbestos assessor.
Reporting Asbestos Matters
Illegal Dumping of Asbestos – report to your local Council or EPA Environment Line on 131 555.
Health concerns originating from private premises – report to Council’s Environment and Health Officers on 6801 4000.
If asbestos is not being handled correctly on a worksite where there are employees or contractors - report to SafeWork NSW on 13 10 50.
More information can be found at:
Council's Asbestos Policy - https://www.dubbo.nsw.gov.au/ArticleDocuments/241/Asbestos_Dubbo_Regional_Council.pdf.aspx
Last Edited: 18 Nov 2019