Many people hear about asbestos and the dangers it presents to human health, but not many of them have ever had an experience with asbestos abatement issues. That's why, as a property owner, soil contamination may be the last of your worries as you consider developing or renovating structures on your piece of land. Unfortunately, it is possible for your soil to contain asbestos. Going into a construction project without managing the hazardous material can present severe health problems for you and your workers. If your property falls under the following categories, you may consider carrying out an asbestos inspection before developing it.
The land is in an old neighbourhood
Does your property sit in a community that was developed before or during the '90s? You may need to know that during this period, no one worried about the use of asbestos in construction. In fact, the material was valued for its heat resistance and insulation properties; therefore, it was used together with other materials to make walls, plumbing pipes and ceilings. Over time, the compound may have disintegrated and dissolved into the soil. Also, if any renovations or demolitions were carried out, asbestos undoubtedly came into contact with the soil.
You may not see the asbestos in your soil, but it is good to have an inspector take samples of the soil to the lab for testing. Do not disturb the ground or any old buildings on the property until you get a report from the inspector.
You have an old structure
Your property may not be in an old neighbourhood, but it may contain an old structure such as a house or shed that you wish to pull down or renovate. This might be the case if only one or a few people had developed the area during the '70s and '80s. The structure may contain asbestos in the building materials; therefore, you have to caution the developer before commencing work. Unfortunately, asbestos is commonly mistaken for cement-based products; hence, it can be hard for you to identify it visually. However, if you take a closer look, you can do the following:
- Look for a broken point on the wall or roofing sheet and you will find the fibres sticking out.
- Check the plumbing pipes and look for a white substance coating the surface.
- Check if the fencing in the property has cement capping as this is a sign that it contains asbestos.
Do not disturb the soil or building on your property if you suspect that it contains asbestos. Contact a professional for inspection and proper asbestos removal to avoid releasing the harmful fibres to the environment.