With the introduction of Portable Analytical Solutions’ microPHAZIR asbestos testing, Bingo Industries is meeting and exceeding its environmental and human health obligations.
With asbestos removal presenting a range of complex transportation issues, World Wide Demolitions has partnered with West-Trans to safety secure their loads.
While generally considered a material of the past, asbestos is still commonplace in Australia’s built environment. Given the significant health risks posed by exposure to airborne asbestos fibres, even in small quantities, asbestos waste disposal presents a number of complex and unique challenges.
Under EPA regulations, all transporters of asbestos waste must record information about the movement of loads from the site of generation to the final disposal point. Furthermore, every load must be secure and covered.
This is a reality known all too well by Tony Johnston of World Wide Demolitions, who’s family run asbestos removal and demolition business has been operating in the NSW Illawarra region for over 30 years.
Licensed in both friable and non-friable asbestos removal, Tony says Worldwide Demolitions follow strict safety practices, remaining consistently compliant with shifting EPA regulations.
He adds that it’s this commitment to maintaining, and exceeding, strict OHS standards that inspired his latest purchase.
“To further support our compliance with those regulations, World Wide Demolitions have recently retrofit all our skip loaders with West-Transcover tarp towers,” Tony says.
Developed by UK-based sheeting systems manufacturer TransCover and distributed exclusively in Australia by West-Trans, West-Transcover tarp towers facilitate secure and covered waste transportation through streamlined and simplified design.
Lightweight, easy to install and economical to maintain, West-Transcover tarp towers are purpose-built for the waste transport industry.
With a unique pneumatic lifting and lowering design, Tony says the tarp towers enable safe operations.
He adds that the automated process means his drivers aren’t required to climb up on their vehicles to secure a load.
“The system is designed to help operators safely secure their loads, and as such, reduces risk, and saves drivers considerable time when loading and unloading, which translates to significant economic benefits,” Tony says.
“I’ve been in this business for a long time, and the West-Transcover product functions at a level well above its competitors.”
Operating via an electric tensioning motor, West-Transcover tarp systems are almost half the weight of old fashioned and more complicated hydraulic tarp tower setups.
“Using air rather than hydraulics to extend the tower, West-Transcover tarps operate in unison with all our skip loaders. We’re yet to run into a problem,” Tony says.
In addition to World Wide Demolitions’ new tarp towers, Tony says the company own a number of West-Trans skip loaders, with another hookloader on the way.
Manufactured to suit rugged Australian conditions, West-Trans builds all major skip and hookloader components in house at their Mulgrave, NSW facility to ensure they meet the highest industry standards.
World Wide Demolitions longstanding relationship with West-Trans is about more than their quality products.
“West-Trans is incredibly easy to deal with. When I want something done, it’s done. For example, one of our drivers lost the remote for their tarp cover recently – I rang West-Trans and the next day the remote arrived in the mail. They operate under a very streamlined, customer-centric business model,” Tony says.
Clean-up is set to begin at two sites in Sedan, South Australia, where thousands of tonnes of construction and demolition waste containing asbestos was found dumped in 2017.
The sites, on Battens and Pipelines roads, were discovered after an EPA investigation involving the SA Police, the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator and local government.
EPA Director Regulation Peter Dolan said the EPA had stepped in to remove the waste after the Port Adelaide-based demolition contractor alleged to have dumped the material failed comply with a clean-up order.
“We have engaged appropriately licensed contractors to carry out the work in order to protect the community and the environment,” he said.
“I can assure residents that the clean-up and transport operation is perfectly safe. Asbestos has to be inhaled to be hazardous to human health.”
According to Mr Dolan, the waste has been sprayed with glue to prevent the escape of exposed asbestos fibres.
“It will be wrapped and transferred in covered trucks to a specially lined cell at the Cambrai Waste Depot, which is licensed to receive asbestos,” he said.
“Air quality monitoring is also being carried out at both sites while work is under way.”
Transporting the waste from Sedan to Cambrai is expected to take one month, with trucks working between 8am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.
“The EPA is in the process of preparing a brief for the Crown Solicitor, seeking criminal prosecution relating to the dumping of the waste and cost recovery for the clean-up,” Mr Dolan said.
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The NSW Government is working to remove the asbestos waste levy to facilitate easier and cheaper legal disposal.
The NSW Asbestos Waste Strategy 2019-21, released by Environment Minister Matt Kean earlier this month, aims to reduce the illegal and improper disposal of asbestos waste.
According to Mr Kean, the strategy was developed after findings showed that asbestos waste accounts for up to eight per cent of illegally dumped waste across the state.
“The safe and lawful management of asbestos waste is a priority for this government, and that means making legal disposal of asbestos waste easier and cheaper,” Mr Kean said.
“To do this, we will work to increase the number of facilities which can lawfully receive asbestos waste, and make it cheaper to dispose of asbestos by removing the waste levy on separated, bonded and wrapped asbestos waste up to 250 kilograms.”
Mr Kean said the strategy also sets out plans to disrupt unlawful asbestos dumping by increasing risk for bad operators.
“Illegally dumped asbestos poses a threat to human health and our environment and results in significant clean-up costs,” Mr Kean said.
“We will monitor repeat offenders with GPS trackers to deter illegal dumping and cancel vehicle registration for people caught doing the wrong thing.”
The maximum penalty for illegal dumping of asbestos in NSW is $2 million for corporations and $500,000 for individuals.
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Illegally dumping asbestos now carries a multi-million dollar fine under new laws passed by the NSW Government.
Previously, the maximum penalty for asbestos waste offenders were $44,000 for corporation and $22,000 for individuals. Under the new laws, these are now $2 million for corporation and $500,000 for individuals who illegally dispose, recycle or re-use asbestos waste.
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Maximum court penalties for land pollution and waste offences involving asbestos have also been doubled to $2 million for corporations and $500,000 for individuals.
Managers and directors can also now be held accountable for offences committed by their companies under the new laws.
NSW Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton said illegally dumping asbestos is a serious crime, and the government wants dumpers to know there are tough penalties for those that break the law.
“The new laws also require the courts to consider the presence of asbestos when determining the magnitude of the penalty,” Ms Upton said.
“The massive fine hike comes on top recently announced tougher asbestos handling controls for waste facilities and a tenfold increase in on-the-spot asbestos fines for illegally transporting or disposing of asbestos waste,” she said.
The NSW Government has initiated a crackdown on asbestos waste, introducing stronger measures to protect the community and environment from rogue construction and demolition waste operators.
A reform package has been announced and will increase on the spot fines for illegally transporting or disposing of asbestos waste by tenfold.
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Construction and demolition waste facilities will also face tougher inspections and handling rules, along with new fines for illegally digging up landfills.
Under the changes, construction and demolition waste facilities will have tighter inspection controls and constant video monitoring. Facilities must also comply with stringent waste storage rules and provide evidence that staff are properly trained.
Incentives are also available for those doing the right thing, with a 75 per cent levy discount for some types of construction and demolition waste that meets specification to be applied as cover material.
The changes were introduced in the Protection of the Environment Operations Legislation Amendment (Waste) Regulation 2018, which will come into effect in May 2019 to allow the industry time to adjust.
NSW Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton said it is a top priority that stronger penalties act as a deterrent and that waste facility operators improve the way they manage construction and demolition waste.
“By giving the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) stronger penalties, it can more effectively hold the waste industry to account as well as encouraging good behaviour.
“On the spot fines for illegal asbestos transport and disposal have increased from $750 for an individual and $1,500 for a corporation to $7,500 and $15,000.
Ms Upton said the reforms follow comprehensive consultation with local councils, waste facility operators, industry bodies and the community.
“Poor practices were identified particularly at a number of facilities handling construction waste. That is why there are now tougher standards and procedures to safeguard the environment and community.”
“There is also a new, $15,000 on-the-spot fine and penalties of up to $44,000 for illegally digging up old landfills. From now on, landfills can only be dug up in cases of emergency or with specific permission of the EPA,” she said.
The NSW Government has released a draft of its Asbestos Waste Strategy, which aims to make it tougher to illegally dump asbestos and safer to remove it.
The strategy outlines new measures to close loopholes for transporters and increasing transparency of waste generators.
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This includes tracking waste vehicles that transport asbestos with GPS tracking devices and increasing the risks and consequences of being caught illegally dumping asbestos.
Penalties for not complying with directions from the NSW EPA could be increased within a six-month timeline, with additional regulatory actions implemented to deter unlawful behaviour. Sentencing provisions would also be strengthened under the changes in the draft, with courts able to determine the monetary benefits gained through illegal business models and included within their sentencing decision.
To make legal disposal of asbestos easier, the draft outlines investigating the removal of the waste levy from separated bonded asbestos waste and implementing additional ways to properly dispose of wrapped asbestos.
The NSW EPA would also work with local councils and the Heads of Asbestos Coordination Activities to provide education and raise awareness to help change behaviours of householders and licensed asbestos removalists.
NSW Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton said the government wants to make it easier and cheaper to do the right thing, strengthen regulation and penalties, close loopholes and disrupt illegal business models.
“The NSW Government is committed to reducing illegal dumping by 30 per cent by 2020 and this strategy is just one of the actions to fulfil that commitment,” Ms Upton said.
“In particular, we want to make the legal disposal of bonded asbestos cheaper and easier in NSW so the community and environment are safeguarded.
“Research commissioned by the EPA revealed the cost and inconvenience of legal disposal as major why asbestos is being illegally dumped,” she said.
Ms Upton said it is important that the community, local government and industry have a say on how asbestos waste is dealt with.
The draft of the NSW Asbestos Waste Strategy is available here, with consultations closing on 20 November 2018.
The NSW Government has received $162 million more than expected from its waste and environmental levy, while at the same time committing $196 million reduce waste, strengthen recycling and protect the health of the environment in its 2018-19 state budget.
According to the budget papers, the government received a revised $727 million from its waste and environment levy, which it attributes to strong construction sector activity.
The NSW Environment Protection Authority budget for 2018-19 includes $70 million to improve waste management and resource recovery, $8 million for the management of contaminated land and $5 million for asbestos management and emergency clean-up.
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NSW Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton said the budget provides support for programs and initiatives to reduce litter and waste, while also strengthening recycling and tackling illegal dumping.
“Diverting waste from landfill is a key priority and the NSW Government has set targets to increase the diversion of waste from landfill from 63 per cent in 2014-15 to 75 per cent by 2021,” Ms Upton said.
“The Premier has also made it a priority to reduce the volume of litter in NSW by 40 per cent by 2020, achieved through Return and Earn, Hey Tosser and council and community litter prevention grants.”
In March, a $47 million support package was also announced for the local government and industry to respond to China’s National Sword policy.
“The support package provides a range of short, medium and long-term programs to ensure kerbside recycling continues and to promote industry innovation.”
Ms Upton said there is also funding for the emergency clean-up of asbestos, managing James Hardie Asbestos legacy sites at Parramatta and support for the Broken Hill Lead program and the management of PFAS.