MEDIA RELEASE: Monday 24 November 2014
NSW Residents Encouraged to Utilise EPA Householders’ Asbestos Disposal Scheme
In line with National Asbestos Awareness Month 2014
Today, Peter Dunphy Chair of the Asbestos Education Committee that conducts the national Asbestos Awareness campaign said, “There is no better time than during Asbestos Awareness Month for residents to take advantage of the NSW Environment Protection Authority’s (EPA) Householders’ Asbestos Disposal Scheme trial.
Councils participating in the scheme are; Kempsey Shire Council and Clarence Valley Council (Mid-North Coast), City of Shoalhaven (Illawarra), Wagga Wagga City Council (Murrumbidgee), Richmond-Tweed district: Ballina Shire Council, Byron Shire Council, Kyogle Shire Council, Lismore City Council, Richmond Valley Council, Tweed Shire Council and Sydney region: Blacktown City Council, Fairfield City Council, Hawkesbury City Council, Holroyd City Council, Hurstville City Council, Kogarah City Council, Liverpool City Council, Parramatta City Council, Penrith City Council, Rockdale City Council, Sutherland Shire Council, The Hills Shire Council and Willoughby City Council.
“This pilot scheme has been designed to help enable homeowners to safely dispose of asbestos at designated landfill sites with minimal fees so during Asbestos Awareness Month we’re encouraging people in these communities to take advantage of the opportunity and contact their council to learn how they can participate.
“The EPA’s Householders’ Asbestos Disposal Scheme trial, aimed at easing the cost to home renovators enabling them to safely dispose of wrapped, bonded asbestos in solid sheet form (not small fragments or particles) potentially reducing the instances of illegal dumping of asbestos in these regions,” said Mr Dunphy.
The EPA has provided grant funding to participating councils to reduce the cost of safe disposal of asbestos (up to 5 tonnes from any one household in a single disposal for the 12 months duration of the trial) by waiving the waste levy on asbestos disposal in levy-paying areas (which ranges between $65.40 and $120.90 p/tonne as of July 1) and contributing a $50 per tonne incentive payment to assist with removal and transport costs.
Landfill gate fees and professional asbestos handling fees are not set by the EPA so will still be applicable, however as part of the trial some councils and/or participating landfills have agreed to lower their tip fees for participating residents.
NSW EPA is trialling the Householders’ Asbestos Disposal Scheme in 23 council areas, providing an incentive of up to $50 per tonne for registered residents who dispose of wrapped bonded asbestos at a nominated landfill and waiving the waste levy.
EPA Director of Waste and Resource Recovery Steve Beaman said, “This trial will assess how effective a more affordable and accessible asbestos disposal scheme will be in reducing instances of illegally dumped asbestos waste.”
Mr Dunphy went on to say, “With 1 in 3 Australian homes containing asbestos, during Asbestos Awareness Month, we’re not just encouraging residents in these councils to utilise the EPA’s Householders’ Asbestos Disposal Scheme, we also want to make them more aware that asbestos products can be in any home built or renovated before 1987, where to find it and how to manage it safely.
“We want householders to visit www.asbestosawareness.com.au and take the 20 Point Safety check to learn where asbestos might be found in homes and on properties and how to manage it safely because it’s not worth the risk to themselves or to their families,” he said.
Asbestos could be anywhere! Under floor coverings such as carpets, linoleum and vinyl tiles, behind wall and floor tiles, in cement floors, internal and external walls, ceilings and ceiling space (insulation), eaves, garages, roofs, around hot water pipes, fences, extensions to homes, garages, outdoor toilets, backyard and farm sheds, chook sheds and even dog kennels.
Asbestos products can also be found buried beneath and around homes leftover from the original construction when it was common practice for builders and labourers to bury broken asbestos materials on building sites which can now be exposed when digging, gardening or redeveloping land.
In many coastal regions ‘weekenders’ were often built from fibro (bonded asbestos cement sheeting) as low-cost holiday homes. In rural settings many buildings were constructed from fibro as a cost-effective means of housing farm equipment and stock. It was also widely used to construct ‘sleep-out’ additions to farmhouses and workers accommodation.
“If in good condition and left undisturbed, asbestos generally doesn’t pose a health risk. However, with the aging of homes, the popularity of DIY, renovating, knock-down-rebuild and with the redevelopment of old fibro home sites, it’s important that anyone working in or around homes or buildings constructed or renovated before 1987 know the dangers of asbestos and how to manage it safely.”
Asbestos Awareness Month is the initiative of the Asbestos Education Committee aimed at educating communities especially homeowners, renovators, tradies and handymen about the dangers of asbestos and how to manage it safely.
When homes contain asbestos DIY is not recommended and renovating properties without knowing where asbestos might be located has been likened to playing ‘Renovation Roulette’.
When it comes to asbestos, Don’t play Renovation Roulette! Don’t cut it! Don’t drill it! Don’t drop it! Don’t sand it! Don’t saw it! Don’t scrape it! Don’t scrub it! Don’t dismantle it! Don’t tip it! Don’t waterblast it! Don’t demolish it! And whatever you do... Don’t dump it!
- COUNCILS CONDUCTING THE TRIAL: Ballina Shire Council, Blacktown City Council, Byron Shire Council, City of Shoalhaven, Clarence Valley Council, Fairfield City Council, Hawkesbury City Council, Holroyd City Council, Hurstville City Council, Kempsey Shire Council, Kogarah City Council, Kyogle Shire Council, Lismore City Council, Liverpool City Council, Parramatta City Council, Penrith City Council, Richmond Valley Council, Rockdale City Council, Sutherland Shire Council, The Hills Shire Council, Tweed Shire Council, Wagga Wagga City Council and Willoughby City Council.
- For more information on how to participate and what the requirements are residents should phone their council.
- For more information on the EPA’s trial Householders’ Asbestos Disposal Scheme visit www.epa.nsw.gov.au
- For information on where asbestos might be found in and around homes and how to manage it safely visit www.asbestosawareness.com.au
FOR MORE INFORMATION & INTERVIEW REQUESTS CONTACT
Insight Communications - 02 9518 4744
Clare Collins 0414 821 957 - [email protected]
Alice Collins 0414 686 091 - [email protected]
TO ACCESS PHOTOGRAPHS OF EXAMPLES OF BONDED ASBESTOS
Media can access a variety of high resolution images and photographs suitable for publication at Downloads & Media Resources page:
Get to kNOw where asbestos might be in homes?
Australians may unknowingly put their health and the health of families, children, and neighbours at risk because they don’t kNOw the dangers of asbestos or where it might be found in and around homes.
Products made from bonded asbestos cement that may have been used in your home include:
- Fibro sheeting (flat and corrugated) which may have been used in internal walls and ceilings, external walls and cladding, infill panels in windows and doors, eves, fencing, carports, backyard sheds and dog kennels, electrical switchboards, sheeting under floor tiles, bathroom walls, backing to floor tiles and sheet vinyl, carpet underlay, and the backing behind the ceramic wall tiles and textile seals to the oven.
- Water drainage and flue pipes.
- Roofing shingles and guttering.
- In some homes, loose-fill asbestos was used in ceiling space as insulation. Please see details under ‘Loose-fill asbestos in homes in NSW and the ACT’.
IMPORTANT: If fire, hail, or water blasting damages non-friable asbestos, it may become friable asbestos material and must be managed and removed by a licenced Friable Asbestos Removalist.
Clare Collins or Alice CollinsP: 02 9518 4744