Asbestos Contamination: Understanding Critical Steps in Remediation Process

2 May 2016
 Categories: Construction & Contractors, Blog


If you are planning to purchase or have already acquired land that might be contaminated by asbestos, it is critical to take management steps to avoid the potential repercussions of the hazardous material. Asbestos was popular as a building material in the past due to beneficial properties like high tensile strength, thermal insulation and fire retardant aspects. Unfortunately, the fibrous mineral is dangerous when inhaled, and it is associated with lung cancer and other respiratory conditions. Therefore, if the soil in your land has asbestos due to irresponsible disposal of the material, you should ensure that the threat is eliminated. If the area is disturbed, the fibres will escape and cause problems in the surrounding region. Here are the critical steps that you should ensure are undertaken to remediate your contaminated land.

Assessment and Testing

You should understand the nature of the contamination problem before commissioning excavation of the land. The threat might be absent, so you should ensure that proper assessment is conducted before making conclusions. Ideally, you should engage a contaminated land company to provide information on the land and potential risk factors. The pertinent property is more likely to have asbestos if it was formerly an industrial plot or a disposal site for garbage. If there are significant contamination risks, official testing should be performed in a laboratory. Asbestos is identified as a physical contaminant which does not disperse without intervention, so its presence will be easy to classify.

Waste Threshold Classification

The report generated by the testing laboratory should help you determine the next course of action with guidance from a contaminated land consultant. Generally, not all contaminated soil must be remediated to eliminate the traces of asbestos. If the asbestos content in the land does not surpass the hazardous waste threshold, remediation is not important. In simple terms, this threshold is the percentage of the contaminant beyond which the soil becomes a threat to the users by freely releasing harmful fibres. This means that you can avoid the costs associated with remediation. On the other hand, you should consider the developmental goals for the land. If the material will affect the long-term profitability, you should take action.

Excavation and Removal

The primary solution for contaminated soil with asbestos particles is asbestos soil removal. As mentioned, this is a physical particle, so it cannot be broken down by chemical agents or easily absorbed by microorganisms. You should also consider filling the land with clean soil, but the right choice will depend on your developmental vision.