asbestos disposal

Asbestos still landing in kerbside bins

Research commissioned by the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has found an alarming lack of knowledge around how to deal with asbestos by homeowners and trade professionals. Read more

Pneumatically secured health and safety: West-Trans

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.

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SA EPA begins illegal dump site clean-up

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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NSW set to remove asbestos waste levy

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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New multi-million dollar fines for asbestos dumpers

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 released a draft of its Asbestos Waste Strategy, which aims to make it tougher to illegally dump asbestos and safer to remove it.

NSW Govt cracks down on asbestos waste

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.