Dumped Roof Tiles Test Positive for Asbestos

A spate of people dumping decramastic roofing tiles at the Oxford and Southbrook Transfer Stations is causing headaches for staff, as positive asbestos tests make for costly clean-up bills.

Decramastic roof tiles containing asbestosIn the last week, two loads of decramastic tiles containing asbestos have been dumped at each transfer station, with clean-up costs mounting to more than $12,500. This follows several similar incidents over the last few months.

“Some roofing tiles contain asbestos, so when they get dropped off we have to isolate the areas where the tiles were dumped and send samples to a testing lab.

“These ones came back positive, so a specialist removal company has had to dispose of them safely and correctly”, says Solid Waste Asset Manager Kitty Waghorn.

The first pile were dropped in the scrap metal area at the Oxford Transfer Station on Sunday, and the other in a skip of building waste in the rubbish pit at the Southbrook Resource Recovery Park on Monday.

Areas need to be isolated while samples are tested, which means parts of the Transfer Stations need to be closed off to the public until results are known, and the tiles dealt with by specialists.

“If people want to remove roof tiles, they need to get them tested first. If they contain asbestos, they need to be removed by someone that knows how to safely remove and dispose of them,” says Kitty.

Kitty says that if people go on to remove the tiles themselves, they could potentially risk their own health as well of the health of their family, and may spread asbestos fibres beyond the property boundary.

The Ministry of Health say that asbestos-containing materials that are in good condition will not release asbestos fibres, and there is no danger unless fibres are released and inhaled into lungs.

“We’re asking people to be careful when removing these tiles, and to get them tested first. We can’t accept them at our transfer stations as they put visitors and staff at risk”.

Council Transfer Stations can’t accept asbestos material as it puts visitors and staff at risk. If you need to dispose of asbestos material please contact EcoCentral.

The Ministry of Health say that asbestos-containing materials that are in good condition will not release asbestos fibres, and there is no danger unless fibres are released and inhaled into lungs. However, many home handymen may be putting their health at risk by removing the material themselves.

Tips from the Ministry of Health:

  • We strongly advise that you seek the help of a WorkSafe New Zealand licensed asbestos removalist to remove any asbestos containing material from your home as exposure to asbestos fibres is a danger to health.
  • Do not use power tools or high-pressure water blasting on external cladding as this will release large amounts of fibres, which are a health risk as a mist or dust and when they dry.
  • A licensed removalist will take the necessary precautions and follow good work practices, as required by the Health and Safety at Work (Asbestos) Regulations 2016.
  • You can find the names of licensed asbestos removalists on WorkSafe New Zealand’s website.

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