Why the Soil at Your Building Site May Contain Asbestos and What You Should Do

4 June 2018
 Categories: Construction & Contractors, Blog

The risk posed by asbestos is very well known and it's not surprising that there are a significant number of rules and regulations linked to the disposal of this substance. If you currently need to work on a particular plot of land, but suspect that it may have been originally contaminated with asbestos, this piece will explain what you should do.

Learn How the Challenge Materialised

It is unfortunate that asbestos was essentially uncontrolled for so long, but it's even more unfortunate that some individuals treated the risk as secondary to profit, in more recent times. It is also possible that asbestos was buried on site, instead of being taken to a regulated landfill or even to a hazardous waste facility, but it seems likely that this has been the case.

Therefore, it's not surprising that asbestos traces are found in many building sites due to poor management (or worse) during the breakup of roofing sheets or pipe lagging after removal. You might not be able to determine by visual inspection whether asbestos-containing materials are present and it is especially difficult to spot whether free fibres may be a significant risk in this situation. In fact, it needs very precise measurements or laboratory analysis to determine the actual extent of asbestos contamination.

Determine the Risks

In closer analysis, much will depend on whether the asbestos is formed or has been broken up and whether the location is completely dry or is damp. If the latter is the case, the risks are significantly reduced, but in any case the type of soil will have a big effect on how much risk is present.

Always remember that the most significant risk to health is not associated with the actual presence of asbestos or even skin contact with it, but rather by inhaling the airborne fibres. This is why experts will always want to determine the risk of release based on the number of fibres that could infiltrate the area when the asbestos content is disturbed.

In any contamination site, experts need to treat the situation carefully so that potential contamination can be brought down to "safe" levels. They will use settled data to help determine this, as well as the type and condition of the present asbestos.

Your Next Move

Always defer to local asbestos soil removal services before taking any action, should there be any risk that asbestos is present on your site.