All posts by Harry Kidby

Is Your Soil Asbestos Free?

The rules and regulations around asbestos in New Zealand are numerous and complex. It’s something that experts like us are best handled to equip. This includes asbestos in the soil – and it can get complicated. To start with, the Health and Safety at Work (Asbestos) Regulations from 2016 stipulate that anyone conducting a business or undertaking identifies asbestos in soil at a workplace if there is“a reasonable cause for them to suspect asbestos-contaminated soil is present.

On top of this, councils will usually require that the potential for asbestos being present in the soil of a particular site be considered as a part of a preliminary site investigation. This comes under the umbrella of the Resource Management (National Environmental Standard for Assessing and Managing Contaminants in Soil to Protect Human Health) Regulations from 2011. Asbestos is seen as one of a handful of potential contaminants identified on a site, but because of the nature of the material, its presence can be challenging to manage, and that is why experts like us are so sorely needed in these situations.

Most contaminants at these sites are usually located in areas where they have been used. A good example is pesticides in a market garden. These contaminants are also found where they have been stored, with fuel tanks being another excellent example. When it comes to asbestos, it might be in or on the ground because of the way it was used in the past. For example, asbestos pipes left buried in the ground, or damage to building claddings causing the material to break up and be dispersed through the air and onto the ground.

However, it is more often present due to demolition and inadequate disposal practices. When it comes to asbestos in the soil, the material is usually not evenly distributed, and with no pattern or trend for where it is encountered. Another complication, and another reason why our specialist assistance is so invaluable.

Asbestos contamination management is much different from dealing with other contaminants. It poses a risk due to the potential of fibre inhalation, and so our main aim is to eliminate the chance of airborne fibres. Asbestos is stable and will remain in the soil permanently unless disturbed. In a lot of cases, it is possible to encapsulate the contaminated material on site. This isn’t always feasible, however, and when asbestos-contaminated soil removal is required, we need to draw up a site management plan to ensure the safety of workers and nearby site users, as well as meet legal compliance.

People working with asbestos have to play it safe and must protect other people around them from potential harm. We provide a range of industry solutions in the remediation of contaminated soil on sites, and we do it to the highest industry standards. Dealing with asbestos in any situation is complex and challenging and you need our input to manage things professionally and with minimal risk to those working around you. Contact us today and take no chances.

Water Blasting And Asbestos Don’t Mix

When it comes to asbestos removal, you should only trust professionals like us. Never attempt to remove asbestos yourself. The potential dangers when you handle this material incorrectly are far too big to ignore.

At the same time, there’s an increasing number of asbestos removal occurrences happening in New Zealand, but this removal is actually being done by accident. That’s the finding of the Canterbury Regional Council who say people joining in on the DIY home renovation craze are at risk of contaminating their home and gardens, and potentially neighbouring properties, with asbestos – but they might not be aware they’re doing it.

The Council says there have been a handful of cases where people have water blasted their roofs and the high pressure of the water has released asbestos fibres into the air. Fortunately, in these cases, the accidental asbestos removal from roof to ground was identified in time. Not so fortunate for the people involved, they had to pay tens of thousands of dollars to get someone to clean up and make the properties safe.

This highlights the dangers of using a water blaster in areas where asbestos is present. And because the material was used so widely in New Zealand buildings from the 1940s to the early 2000s, there’s every chance it will be present. We’re talking roofs, fences, wall claddings, pipes, water tanks, lagging, plaster, vinyl floor rules, textured decorative coatings and so much more. When these things are in good condition and left alone, the health risks associated with asbestos are generally considered to be very low. But when you add a water blaster to the mix, and all that water pressure, that’s when things can become dangerous. Previously undisturbed asbestos-containing material can break up into airborne fibres that can be inhaled by people in the vicinity, or settle in areas where the fibres can be disturbed again, which merely keeps the danger ever-present.

So, if you have the DIY renovation bug – and this can apply to commercial premises as well as residential properties – and you want to use water blasting equipment as part of your project, be very careful about where you use it, and on what surfaces you use it on. The most sensible thing to do is to contact asbestos professionals just like us. We can tell you if asbestos is present, and our services are not as expensive as you may think. It’s actually a small price to pay for peace of mind and enhanced safety for you and everyone around you.

Be Aware Of Asbestos

At ACM Removals, we are determined to provide the safest, most efficient and affordable asbestos disposal in NZ. This is an attitude that starts with our management team and continues right through our team of highly-trained professionals. Asbestos removal and disposal require an expert approach and we’re certainly qualified to handle any project, be it residential, commercial, civil or soil asbestos removal.

However, our services are not confined to asbestos disposal. Because asbestos has been so extensively used in New Zealand in years past, we offer a range of services that reflect that including asbestos audits and reports and even asbestos awareness training.

The potential for being exposed to asbestos in this country is significant. It actually happens more often than you might think, simply because asbestos was a hugely popular material back in the day. Asbestos was used in many ways around New Zealand because it is strong, fire-resistant, sound-dampening, and heat-insulating. These properties made it a natural addition to many building materials used in this country until we, and the rest of the world, became aware that it wasn’t all that safe after all.

Because of this wide variety of applications in the past, we believe our asbestos awareness training is very important, particularly in commercial and civil settings – although we think this type of training has a place in all situations. That’s why we encourage you to find out more about this service and educate yourself and everyone around you about asbestos. After all, that unknown substance you find in the recess of a building could potentially be asbestos – with it being used from the roof to the floor in the past, there’s every chance it is.

Anyone who works on an existing building including builders, demolition personnel,  maintenance workers, electricians, plumbers, air conditioning installers, or even homeowners renovating their properties, can be exposed to asbestos-contaminated materials. That risk is higher if the building was constructed before the 1980s. At ACM Removals, we firmly believe that everyone facing that risk should have some awareness of where they could find asbestos and what to do if you do suspect something contains asbestos.

You can’t be complacent around asbestos. Even though it can be perfectly safe when left alone and untouched, it can become highly dangerous when any sort of activity goes on around it. So please contact us and ask about our asbestos awareness training. Because when you’re more aware of asbestos, the safer you are around it.