Thank you to Blue Mountains Library for use of the historical images in this video.
Planning for a Home Renovation
Between 1940 and 1990, asbestos was a popular construction material for Australian homes. If you’re starting a renovation, doing repairs or just redecorating in a home built before 1990, it is important to know the asbestos risks. It isn’t just the big jobs that can disturb asbestos, maintenance or even drilling to hang a picture can expose asbestos.
Asbestos is found in many parts of older homes, including:
• ceilings and internal walls
• flue and water pipes
• behind tiles
• flooring underlay.
Before you start work use the Asbestos Checker or have a licensed asbestos assessor inspect your property to find asbestos. It’s cheaper and easier to deal with asbestos if it isn’t a surprise.
If you’re renovating, it is likely that you will disturb some asbestos-containing materials.
If you think something might be asbestos, treat it like it is. Do not sand, scrub, water-blast, cut or drill into suspected asbestos and take proper safety precautions.
In some cases, you may think about removing asbestos in your own home. You must always use a licensed asbestos professional to remove friable asbestos and when there is more than 10sqm of non-friable (bonded) asbestos. However, due to the risks associated with disturbing asbestos, SafeWork NSW recommends you use a licensed asbestos professional to remove any amount of non-friable asbestos.
Asbestos removal requires training and experience to do safely.
SafeWork NSW publishes a list of licensed asbestos assessors.
Disposal of Asbestos in the Blue Mountains
It is illegal to put asbestos in your kerbside bins.
Asbestos is accepted at Blaxland Resource Recovery and Waste Management Facility by appointment only.
The following conditions must be met:
• Make a booking by phoning 4739 2432 at least 24 hours in advance
• Asbestos must be wrapped in builder's plastic and secured with strong tape
• Asbestos must be in bundles that can be manually unloaded without breaking open the plastic – maximum 2.4 x 1.6 metres
• No tipping from the back of the vehicle
• Deliveries 9 am to 2.30 pm, Monday to Friday
• Follow the instructions of staff
Fees for the disposal of asbestos have been reduced to the same level as for mixed waste.
NSW facilities that accept larger amounts of asbestos waste are listed on the following website www.epa.nsw.gov.au/managewaste/house-asbestos-land.htm
Dangers Pressure Cleaning Asbestos Roofs
There have been a number of incidents across NSW where high-pressure water has been used to clean an asbestos roof causing widespread contamination, including on neighbouring properties.
If you are working on a roof that may contain asbestos, SafeWork NSW provides the following advice:
- Never use high-pressure water or compressed air on asbestos products.
- Be careful when working on asbestos roofs – they are brittle and you can easily fall through.
- Follow legal and safety requirements to manage asbestos.
- Use a licensed asbestos removalist.
For more information on the dangers of pressure cleaning asbestos roofs watch this video: https://youtu.be/4Oaatqtc3bM