Purchasing or inheriting a promising strip of land, only to find out that its soil has been contaminated by asbestos from a previous building site, can be a disheartening situation to say the least. However, it does not leave your land unusable—while asbestos is a dangerous contaminant, it can be safely and thoroughly removed by dedicated contaminated soil removal services. If you find yourself in this unfortunate situation, follow these guidelines to ensure safe, stress-free removal or your contaminated soil:
Even if you're already sure that your soil is contaminated with asbestos, it's best to have it confirmed scientifically, and knowing how much asbestos is within your soil will inform future planning and safety procedures. Have a soil testing service take samples of your contaminated soil to test its asbestos content; this is usually done on site, but there are also remote soil testing services who will arrange to pickup your soil samples and test them at a dedicated laboratory.
Asbestos-contaminated soil can throw up clouds of damaging asbestos dust if disturbed, particularly during the drier months. Consequently, you should make sure that the contaminated area is well cordoned off, particularly if it lies close to a public thoroughfare or is used as a casual shortcut. Soil removal services can aid you in this, providing high-visibility barriers and signs to isolate the site and ground sheeting to prevent unwanted soil disturbance before removal is effected.
Once these measures are in place, the work of removing your soil can begin, and you should ensure that proper removal procedures are adhered to. Failure to do so can lead to heavy fines and some pretty sticky legal situations, so make sure to hire a reputable soil removal firm who utilise the following safety procedures:
- Safety equipment: Workers should use safety goggles and special respirators to prevent contamination, as should you if you choose to visit the work site.
- Quarantine stations: These mobile stations are erected at the exits of the job site, and are used by workers and visitors to clean contaminated soil dust from their skin and clothes.
- Wetting agents: The contaminated soil must be kept thoroughly moistened while it is being removed, as dry soil tends to release airborne asbestos particles when disturbed. Some firms used simple water hoses, while others specialising in industrial-scale removal will use specially-formulated wetting agents that encourage soil to clump together.
- Air monitoring: Ambient air monitor should also be kept on the work site. These devices give out an alarm when they detect dangerously high concentrations of airborne asbestos.
Naturally, you can't just dump all this contaminated soil at the local tip, and you should make arrangements for your excavated soil to be transported to a suitable disposal site. Once again, consulting with your chosen soil removal firm is your best option here, as they will be able to advise you on the best places and methods to dispose of your soil. Some will also dispose of the soil themselves as a part of their contract.