It is important that residents in the Lachlan Shire be aware about the safe handling of asbestos. Council recommends that you visit www.asbestosawareness.com.au for the most current information on all aspects of asbestos management and regulation.
What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is described as either "friable" or "non-friable".
Non-friable asbestos is when asbestos fibres are bonded to another material, for example cement. Non-friable asbestos cannot be crumbled, pulverised or reduced to a powder by hand pressure when dry. However, if fire, hail, or water blasting damages non-friable asbestos, it may become friable asbestos material.
The removal of non-friable asbestos products with a total area greater than 10m² must be undertaken by a contractor licensed by WorkCover NSW.
Friable asbestos material 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 when dry. Friable asbestos was not commonly used in the home; it was mainly used in industrial applications. Examples of Asbestos fibre or dust waste include brake lining dust, acoustic insulation, thermal insulation (lagging) and dust from ventilation collection systems.
Friable asbestos should only be removed by a specialised asbestos removal contractor with a friable asbestos licence issued by WorkCover NSW.
Where can Asbestos be found?
Bonded asbestos was most commonly used in buildings as flat or corrugated sheeting (‘fibro'), for walls, ceilings and roofing. Similar cement sheeting products are used today, but these are 'asbestos free'. In the 1960s and 70s loose fibre asbestos was used in some parts of NSW as home roof insulation.
Other products containing asbestos included water, drainage and flue pipes; electrical conduit and guttering and floor tiles.
In NSW, the use of asbestos was discontinued in all fibro sheets and products by the mid-1980s. After this, asbestos continued to be used principally in friction products, for brake and clutch linings. The manufacture and use of asbestos products was banned nationally in Australia from 31 December 2003.
Dangers of Asbestos
Asbestos is a known carcinogen. Inhalation is the main way that asbestos enters the body. The inhalation of asbestos fibres is known to cause mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis.
Asbestos is a health risk when the fibres are released into the air and breathed in.
Finding that your home or workplace is made from products containing asbestos does not mean your health is at risk. Studies have shown that these products, if in sound condition and left undisturbed, are not a significant health risk. If the asbestos fibres remain firmly bound in cement sheet or structure, generally you do not need to remove the asbestos, or even coat it.
Further advice concerning the health risks of asbestos can be obtained from your local public health unit.
Handling & Disposal of Asbestos- Legalities
If you use the appropriate safety precautions, you are permitted to remove a maximum of 10 square metres of bonded asbestos in NSW.
However, if removing more than 10 square metres, you MUST either hire a qualified asbestos removalist or obtain a NSW WorkCover bonded asbestos removal licence which requires you to attend an appropriate training course run by TAFE or a registered training organisation. Any loose or friable asbestos must be removed by a qualified asbestos removalist and cannot be removed by the homeowner. Refer to NSW Workcover Fact Sheet Bonded Asbestos.
It is illegal to re-use, recycle or illegally dump asbestos products. It is also illegal to dispose of asbestos waste in domestic garbage bins. Asbestos waste must be disposed of at a landfill site that can lawfully receive this waste.
Lachlan Shire Council recommends that you:
- treat all fibro sheets as if they contain asbestos unless tested; and
- use a licensed asbestos removal contractor to remove all materials containing asbestos.
Any product that contain asbestos are required to be disposed of at either the Condobolin or Lake Cargelligo Waste Management Facilities and you must comply with Council's requirements when taking asbestos waste to this facility. You are required to provide 24 hours’ notice of your intention to dispose of asbestos waste so that Council may prepare for the burial of the waste. Fees apply to disposal and burial of the waste and these fees must be paid for before the waste will be accepted.
Please Contact Council for further information regarding the safe handling of asbestos and further details of Council requirements on 02 6895 1900. Contact the Office of Environment and Heritage's Environment Line on
13 15 55 for additional information about legally transporting and disposing of asbestos waste.