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.