Hailed as a miracle mineral because of its superior fire resistance and tensile strength, asbestos was installed abundantly into our built environment for over 200 years. However, once it was established that this undeniably useful resource was a dangerous carcinogen, Australia and many other countries enacted strict regulations for handling asbestos and asbestos containing material (ACM). There regulations created an asbestos abatement industry worth billions of dollars worldwide annually, and which will continue to generate millions of ton of asbestos waste long into the future.
Corporations and insurance companies have paid out billions of dollars in asbestos claims and have increased their reserves by billions of dollars to cover present and future incalculable loses pertaining to asbestos lawsuits. Much of the cement board that permeates Australian residential, commercial, school, and government buildings is a prominent example of such a product.
The installation and presence of these building products has caused many construction trade workers – including plumbers, pipefitters, boilermakers, carpenters and installers – to contract mesothelioma and other asbestos related diseases. Besides the construction trades, the people who live and work in buildings containing asbestos are potentially exposed to toxic forms of asbestos. Consequently, the ACM mining, manufacturing and installation industries have created great liability issues for the producers, installers, end users and their associated insurance companies.
From 1950 to 1970, Australia was the highest per capita user of asbestos in the world, and vast numbers of domestic dwellings built before 1982 contained – or still contain – asbestos.
Whereas most countries banned the use of asbestos in building products by 1980, Australia’s relatively late bans are likely to lead to more asbestos related exposures and diseases many years into the future. Australia already has one of the world’s highest rates of mesothelioma deaths, as well as many other asbestos related cancers. There late bans will feed the asbestos abatement industry and the disposal of asbestos and ACMs, as well as contribute strongly to ongoing contraction of asbestos diseases.
In Tasmania, the Australian Workers Union has developed a plan to remove all the ACM by 2030, 17 years from now. But this raises difficult questions. Will all ACM on substrates be removed? Where will the ACM be stored (nothing that asbestos never really goes away, even when landfilled).
US laws make the owner or generator asbestos or ACM a “Potential Responsible Part”, who is responsible for the cradle-to-grave liability for asbestos stored in a landfill through perpetuity. This means that when the landfill fails and must be cleaned up, the Potential Responsible Party or Parties, become responsible to pay for clean-up. In Australia there is no such regulation, with taxpayers meeting much of the financial burden for clean-up.
Let us explore the disposal options presently available for asbestos and ACMs.
Eventually, all landfills will fail. Modern day landfills liners last around 30 years. What happens when the liners are punctured or deteriorate?
Although landfilling is the cheapest and most convenient disposal option for asbestos or ACM, it is not the most cost effective – in the long run someone will have to pay to re-abate the asbestos from the landfill before it pollutes the surrounding area.
So what happens to asbestos or ACM when it is landfilled? By regulation, asbestos and ACM must be wrapped in plastic or a double polythene bag. Every package of asbestos must be clearly marked with a proper shipping name, including UN number, packaging group number, hazchem code and class label. The polythene bags are loaded on to a bin or trailer and driven to the landfill. The vehicle carting the ACM to the landfill must display a placard that is placed at the front and rear of the vehicle stating “Miscellaneous Dangerous Goods”. Next, the polythene bags are dumped from the height of a trailer or container into the landfill. The dumped asbestos polythene bags must then be covered with 15 to 30 cm of non-asbestos covering pushed over by heavy construction equipment.
What are the possible consequences of this method of disposal? Bags can break, allowing asbestos fibers to become airborne and migrate to the water table. An example of problems encountered in Australia with landfilling asbestos is Wyong Council’s landfill at Shelly Beach, New South Wales. Because ACMs have surfaced above its cover due to erosion and weather conditions, it will cost $12 million to clean up the asbestos dumped into the landfill during the 1970s. Also, there is no way to tell how many people who live and work around Shelly Beach have been exposed to the surfaced asbestos.
There are presently three thermal options to destroy and permanently rid asbestos from our environment: vitrification, plasma torch, and Asbestos Recycling, Inc.’s hearth oven.
All thermal processes require high heat and high energy to destroy asbestos, because they need to run at 1500 to 2000 °C to glassify the asbestos. The asbestos is fed into the thermal unit for a required residence time. Following this, the end product must be cooled before testing. If no asbestos is detected by transmission electron microscopy, the end product can be recycled or sent to a non-regulated landfill. If asbestos is detected, then the whole previously treated batch must be put back through the thermal unit.
The high temperatures require substantial electricity at high cost, along with high maintenance costs on the refractory – the inner brick lining of furnace, which over time cracks and wears out due to the high temperature required to destroy the asbestos – which causes approximately 25 to 30% down time. Furthermore, the thermal unit must have an extensive and efficient scrubber system that prevents the escape of potentially harmful byproducts (e.g. furans, dioxins and nitrogen oxides).
There are several chemical options for the permanent disposal for asbestos.
Soaking chrysotile asbestos in sulfuric acid for an extended period of time destroys the chrysotile, but is slow in its destruction reaction time. Once the reaction is complete, the acid is neutralized with a base, such as lime or baking soda.
W.R. Grace, Inc. developed an in situ non-thermal chemical process to destroy asbestos containing spray-on fireproofing containing chrysotile. The spray-on fireproofing (trade name Monokote) was developed and sold by Grace when asbestos was still permitted in building materials. When asbestos was banned, Grace developed an in situ chemical asbestos destruction process that destroyed only chrysotile. The process requires full negative air containment with four air changes per hour, but not high electrical use. Ultimately, Grace encountered two problems: 1) for a building with hundreds or thousands of square feet of sprayed-on fireproofing, it was difficult and costly to prove that all the asbestos was destroyed; 2) the process did not fall under the relevant US Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulation; therefore Grace could not secure EPA approval for the process. (The aforementioned thermal options are EPA approved, because they do fall under the relevant regulation).
The ABCOV® Method of asbestos destruction is a non-thermal; EPA approved mixing process that chemically and physically destroys all forms of asbestos in all ACM. The process is performed under negative air containment and employs size reduction of the ACM and high speed dispersion mixing with ABCOV® chemicals, which are contained in a mild acidic solution.
The asbestos destruction is able to best tested, using polarized light microscopy, as the asbestos is being destroyed, allowing no asbestos to leave the process equipment until completely inert.
The process requires the negative air containment to have six air changes per hour. There is minimal electrical usage and a negative air scrubber system that includes an activated carbon filter and a high-efficiency particulate air filter that will provide six air changes per hour (as opposed to the four air changes per hour that is required for a typical asbestos abatement project performed under negative air containment.
Innovative waste treatment technologies are the future of the waste industry – not only for asbestos, but for all hazardous wastes that cannot be recycled.
Australian bans on asbestos:
1967 – crocidolite (blue asbestos) – considered the most dangerous of the asbestos minerals.
1989 – amosite (brown asbestos) – banned from building products (and from other products in 2003).
2003 – chrysotile (white asbestos).
2004 – the remaining asbestos minerals, tremolite, actinolite and anthophyllite.
Sources: Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization; Australian Council of Trade Unions
Disclaimer: Tony Nocito works for ABCOV®; Description of proprietary technologies does not imply endorsement by Remediation Australasia.
We would like to thank Australian Remediation Industry Cluster for giving us this great opportunity to publish our content in their quarterly magazine “Remediation Australasia.” Remediation Australasia, Issue 13.
100 Replies to “The Trouble with Asbestos Disposal”
I am a highschool tecehar in Canada and we are looking to build a small building using alternative building material. I was at a workshop today and met an architect from Dalhousie University who suggested we use phone books. He has built using phone books and said they are not only load bearing but can even be made into roof trusses.
Good day! I simply want to give you a big thumbs up for your excellent info you’ve got here on this post. I will be coming back to your blog for more soon.
Greetings! Very useful advice in this particular article! It is the little changes which will make the largest changes. Many thanks for sharing!
An interesting discussion is worth comment. There’s no doubt that that you ought to publish more on this subject, it might not be a taboo matter but generally folks don’t speak about such issues. To the next! Best wishes!!
This excellent website really has all the information I wanted concerning this subject and didn’t know who to ask.
You’ve made some really good points there. I checked on the internet for more information about the issue and found most individuals will go along with your views on this website.
A fascinating discussion is definitely worth comment. I do think that you need to write more about this issue, it may not be a taboo subject but usually folks don’t discuss these topics. To the next! Many thanks!!
An impressive share! I have just forwarded this onto a friend who has been doing a little research on this. And he actually ordered me dinner because I discovered it for him… lol. So let me reword this…. Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending the time to talk about this issue here on your internet site.
An outstanding share! I’ve just forwarded this onto a friend who had been doing a little research on this. And he in fact bought me lunch simply because I stumbled upon it for him… lol. So let me reword this…. Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending some time to talk about this issue here on your internet site.
You have made some decent points there. I checked on the internet for more information about the issue and found most people will go along with your views on this website.
Howdy! This blog post could not be written much better! Looking through this article reminds me of my previous roommate! He continually kept talking about this. I am going to forward this post to him. Fairly certain he will have a very good read. Thanks for sharing!
After exploring a number of the articles on your web site, I really appreciate your technique of blogging. I book-marked it to my bookmark site list and will be checking back in the near future. Take a look at my web site too and let me know your opinion.
Great article. I am facing many of these issues as well..
Hello there! I simply would like to give you a huge thumbs up for the excellent info you have right here on this post. I will be returning to your website for more soon.
Nice post. I learn something totally new and challenging on websites I stumbleupon every day. It’s always useful to read content from other authors and practice a little something from other websites.
You’re so awesome! I do not believe I have read something like this before. So wonderful to find somebody with a few original thoughts on this topic. Seriously.. thank you for starting this up. This website is one thing that is needed on the internet, someone with a little originality!
I blog quite often and I truly thank you for your information. This article has really peaked my interest. I will bookmark your blog and keep checking for new details about once per week. I opted in for your RSS feed too.
This blog was… how do you say it? Relevant!! Finally I have found something that helped me. Kudos!
Very good write-up. I definitely love this site. Continue the good work!
This website definitely has all of the info I needed about this subject and didn’t know who to ask.
Great post. I am going through some of these issues as well..
Spot on with this write-up, I seriously believe this amazing site needs far more attention. I’ll probably be returning to read more, thanks for the info!
Hi, I do believe this is a great website. I stumbledupon it 😉 I will come back yet again since i have bookmarked it. Money and freedom is the greatest way to change, may you be rich and continue to help others.
An outstanding share! I’ve just forwarded this onto a coworker who had been conducting a little homework on this. And he actually bought me breakfast because I stumbled upon it for him… lol. So let me reword this…. Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending some time to talk about this matter here on your website.
Resources this kind of as the one you mentioned here will be extremely useful to myself! I will publish a hyperlink to this page on my personalized blog. Im certain my site website visitors will discover that very helpful.
Muchos Gracias for your blog.Really thank you! Will read on…
I’m amazed, I have to admit. Rarely do I come across a blog that’s both educative and amusing, and without a doubt, you’ve hit the nail on the head. The issue is something which too few men and women are speaking intelligently about. Now i’m very happy I came across this in my search for something relating to this.
You ought to take part in a contest for one of the highest quality blogs online. I will highly recommend this web site!
Excellent web site you have here.. It’s difficult to find good quality writing like yours nowadays. I honestly appreciate people like you! Take care!!
There’s certainly a lot to learn about this issue. I like all the points you have made.
May I simply just say what a comfort to uncover a person that truly understands what they’re discussing on the net. You actually know how to bring a problem to light and make it important. More people should read this and understand this side of the story. It’s surprising you’re not more popular since you most certainly have the gift.
A fascinating discussion is worth comment. There’s no doubt that that you ought to write more about this subject, it may not be a taboo matter but usually people do not speak about such issues. To the next! Many thanks!!
Greetings! Very useful advice in this particular article! It is the little changes that will make the greatest changes. Many thanks for sharing!
I love it whenever people come together and share views. Great site, continue the good work!
Excellent article. I will be going through many of these issues as well..
Excellent blog you have got here.. It’s hard to find high-quality writing like yours nowadays. I honestly appreciate individuals like you! Take care!!
Hi there! I could have sworn I’ve visited this site before but after going through a few of the posts I realized it’s new to me. Regardless, I’m certainly pleased I stumbled upon it and I’ll be bookmarking it and checking back regularly!
I’m amazed, I must say. Seldom do I encounter a blog that’s both educative and interesting, and without a doubt, you have hit the nail on the head. The issue is something not enough people are speaking intelligently about. I’m very happy I stumbled across this during my hunt for something concerning this.
There’s certainly a great deal to learn about this topic.
I really like all of the points you’ve made.
Thank you for the comment.
Howdy! I could have sworn I’ve visited this website before but after going through a few of the posts I realized it’s new
to me. Anyhow, I’m definitely happy I came across it and I’ll be book-marking it
and checking back frequently!
Thank you for the comment and bookmarking.
If you wish for to obtain a good deal from this post then you have to apply these
strategies to your won weblog.
Thank you for the comment.
Nice post. I used to be checking constantly this weblog and I am inspired!
Extremely useful info specially the ultimate section 🙂 I care for such info a lot.
I was looking for this particular information for a long time.
Thanks and good luck.
Thank you for the comment.
Great, thanks for sharing this blog post.Really thank you! Will read on…
Nice Blog check out mine and let me know what you think! http://goo.gl/W5h1nl
Thank you for the good writeup. It in fact was a amusement account it.
Look advanced to far added agreeable from you!
By the way, how could we communicate?
Please visit the contact page.
I just want to say I am beginner to blogs and really loved this website. Probably I’m planning to bookmark your blog . You certainly come with impressive article content. Kudos for sharing your webpage.
I just want to say I’m new to blogging and site-building and honestly loved this web site. More than likely I’m likely to bookmark your blog post . You certainly come with great posts. Cheers for revealing your website page.
Thank you for the comment and bookmarking our site.
My husband or wife and I stumbled over below by a diverse web site and thought I must examine items out. I like what I see so i am just following you. Seem forward to looking into your world wide web web page again.
It’s actually a great and helpful piece of material. I am satisfied that you simply revealed this helpful info with us. Please continue to keep us informed like this. Thank you for showing…
I do not even know how I finished up below, but I believed this submit was excellent. I do not know who you are but absolutely you are likely to a popular blogger if you aren???t currently ) Cheers!
I was very pleased to find this web-site.I wanted to thanks for your time for this wonderful read!! I definitely enjoying every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you blog post.
Thank you for the kind comment.
Spot on with this write-up, I truly think this website needs much more consideration. I?ll probably be again to read much more, thanks for that info.
Thank you for the comment.
I?d have to check with you here. Which is not something I usually do! I enjoy reading a post that will make people think. Also, thanks for allowing me to comment!
Thank you for the comment.
I imagined this was a actually very good blog article. I often like reading content similar to this 1. I should go through more of your respective posts.
Thank you for the comment.
I simply want to tell you that I’m beginner to weblog and absolutely loved this web-site. Probably I’m going to bookmark your blog post . You surely come with terrific well written articles. Many thanks for revealing your blog.
Sweet information I added to my RSS can’t wait for some updates!
Yes. It should get the job done. If it doesn’t send us an email.
I simply want to tell you that I am just newbie to weblog and seriously savored your blog site. Very likely I’m want to bookmark your site . You definitely have very good articles. Many thanks for sharing with us your webpage.
I do not even know how I finished up below, but I thought this put up was fantastic. I really don’t know who you are but absolutely you are planning to a well-known blogger if you are not currently ) Cheers!
I do not even know how I ended up right here, but I considered this publish was wonderful. I really do not know who you are but certainly you are heading to a well-known blogger if you are not presently ) Cheers!
I just want to say I am all new to blogs and actually savored this web site. Very likely I’m likely to bookmark your site . You really come with terrific writings. Kudos for revealing your web site.
I just want to say I am just newbie to blogging and site-building and truly savored your web site. Most likely I’m going to bookmark your site . You actually have superb article content. Thanks a bunch for sharing your website.
That is a very good tip particularly to those new to the blogosphere. Brief but very accurate information… Thanks for sharing this one. A must read post!
You can certainly see your expertise within the work you write. The arena hopes for even more passionate writers such as you who are not afraid to say how they believe. At all times follow your heart.
Wow! This can be one particular of the most helpful blogs We’ve ever arrive across on this subject. Actually Wonderful. I’m also a specialist in this topic therefore I can understand your hard work.
I like what you guys are up also. Such intelligent work and reporting! Keep up the excellent works guys I have incorporated you guys to my blogroll. I think it’ll improve the value of my site 🙂
I wanted to thank you for this wonderful read!! I definitely enjoyed every little bit of it. I’ve got you book-marked to check out new things you post…
This consistently amazes me specifically how bloggers including yourself can discover some time and also the dedication to carry on generating good blogposts. Your weblog isgood and one of my own should read weblogs. I just wanted to thank you.
I have learn several good stuff here. Definitely value bookmarking for revisiting. I surprise how much attempt you place to make this sort of excellent informative web site.
Great article, totally what I wanted to find.
Very soon this web page will be famous amid all blogging and site-building people, due
to it’s good content
I appreciated the great write-up.
Only wanna admit that this is very beneficial , Thanks for taking your time to write this.
You actually make it appear so easy with your presentation however I find this matter to be really something which I believe I would never understand. It seems too complex and extremely broad for me. I’m having a look forward for your next publish, I will try to get the grasp of it!
Great blog, couldn’t agrre more
Thanks for your publication. I also think that laptop computers have grown to be more and more popular nowadays, and now are often the only form of computer utilised in a household. This is due to the fact that at the same time potentially they are becoming more and more affordable, their working power is growing to the point where there’re as highly effective as desktop coming from just a few years back.
I just want to say I am just very new to weblog and really loved this web blog. Almost certainly I’m likely to bookmark your blog . You amazingly come with great writings. Appreciate it for sharing your website.
Enjoyed every bit of your article post.Really thank you! Really Great.
I simply want to say I am all new to blogging and site-building and really savored this web blog. Probably I’m planning to bookmark your blog post . You really come with great stories. Thanks a bunch for sharing with us your blog.
This actually answered my problem, thank you!
We’re a categorize of volunteers and opening a new plot in our community. Your web site offered us with beneficial data to paintings by. You’ve performed an impressive undertaking and our full congregate will probably ensue thankful to you.
Hey there! I simply wish to offer you a huge thumbs up for the great information you have right here on this post. I’ll be returning to your site for more soon.
Wonderful article! That is the kind of information that are supposed to be shared around the web.
Disgrace on the search engines for not positioning this put up higher!
Come on over and seek advice from my web site .
Everyone loves it when individuals get together and share thoughts. Great site, keep it up!
Thank you, I have been hunting for information about this subject for ages and yours will be the greatest I’ve situated so far.
Greetings! Very useful advice within this article! It’s the little changes that will make the most significant changes. Thanks for sharing!
Hey there! Wonderful stuff, please do tell us when you post once more something similar!
Comments are closed.