Water Blasting Asbestos Materials – Read this First
Little Weekend Project Turns into a Nightmare
So you’ve got an old corrugated asbestos cement roof with moss and dark weather stains over the top of it and you’d like to clean it up and give it a fresh coat of paint. You’ve had success in the past cleaning outdoor pavements and surfaces with a water gurney , why not give that a go? Think twice!
If your roof contains asbestos, as most of the aging fibre cement roofs do, this little weekend project could cost you over a hundred thousand dollars to clean up, expose you, your family and your neighbours to a significant health risk and land your property in the sights of the EPA, the police and /or your local council for immediate remedial action.
What happens when you waterblast an asbestos roof?
When you water blast an asbestos roof, small particles and larger clumps of asbestos will be broken off and kicked up into the air. The spray from the blasting will contaminate everything it touches which will likely include the surrounding properties, fences, buildings and gardens.
In addition to the visible clumps of asbestos that will be all over areas adjacent to the roof, a large volume of small breathable particles will be kicked up into the air creating an immediate health risk to all those near the blasting and to those carrying out the work.
Water blasting an asbestos roof is an illegal act and is considered to be a pollution incident by the EPA. Because it is an illegal act your insurance will not cover any damages caused. Your local council, the EPA or Work Cover , depending on who is alerted, will issue you with a notice to have the site investigatedby an occupational hygienist company such as Greenlight and then remedied by a licensed removalist. There will be a time limit given to you and fines may be applied if you do not act on the issue in a timely manner.
This terrible situation plays out across Australia again and again as homeowners or tenants try to improve the look of some aging buildings and unknowingly create a dangerous situation.
Prevention is Key for Investors
The key to here is prevention – make sure you and or your tenants are aware of the location of asbestos materials on your site by providing them with an asbestos register prepared by an experienced audit team such as Greenlight. If it is a commercial tenancy you are required to have this document available by law in any case. You may be unable to pursue your tenants for costs if you have not made them aware of these materials on your property
Think your property doesn’t have any asbestos and you don’t need this.? Most pre-1980 properties have asbestos materials in some form and some properties up to 2003 still have some asbestos materials within the building.
It is important to never disturb asbestos materials. Never blast, sand, grind, drill or cut asbestos materials for any reason.
If you need advice on an asbestos contamination incident such as water blasting or you would like to have an asbestos register prepared for your work place or home – contact Greenlight today.