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The Asbestos Check team this week was requested to undertake an asbestos soil inspection. The asbestos inspection was requested by a Sydney Council who had results of a soil investigation which included a range of chemicals. Through this chemical testing, some soil was tested for asbestos and a few fragments were found.

In many instances, the finding of a few fragments of asbestos does not necessarily mean that the area should be deemed unfit for use; however it does then require further assessment to determine the extent of the asbestos material within the grounds.

Is your Environmental Consultant NATA accredited for Asbestos Soil Inspections

In one instance we found an asbestos and environmental consultant who had dug 25 pits about 500 deep. What they found was three small fragments of bonded (non-friable) asbestos containing material; no Asbestos Fibres or Free Asbestos was found loose in the soil from asbestos testing. In our opinion, this really is minor asbestos contamination in which some emu picking of the soil was required.

Our investigation was backed through a systematic process of quantifying asbestos in soil through the as conducted to the Guidelines for the Assessment, Remediation and Management of Asbestos-Contaminated Sites in Western Australia – May 2009. The results of the inspection and asbestos testing quantified the soil as being less than 0.01 % wgt per wgt of asbestos in soil.

The original consultant had recommended that the site be shut down, access restricted and anyone who going onto the site wear protective clothing and Personal Respiratory Protection (RPE). This really is not practical advice, given that a large number of residential homes in Sydney would be faced within a similar situation.

Asbestos Soil Inspections by NSW Asbestos Assessors or Occupational Hygienists?

The advice can vary greatly in industry, even between NSW Asbestos Assessors & Occupational Hygienists.  That’s why an asbestos soil inspection and asbestos soil testing should be conducted by a company accredited by the National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA). While there are many NATA accredited laboratories for asbestos soil testing, there are only a handful of consultants who are accredited for asbestos soil inspections. Asbestos Check is NATA accredited to ensure reliable asbestos soil testing and inspections. We are also backed by a Qualified Occupational Hygienist, Mr Carl Strautins who is also a NSW Asbestos Assessor.

Asbestos Check: the first NATA Accredited Company for Asbestos Soil Assessments

We know and understand the human health risk of asbestos soil assessments; while the initial thought of asbestos soil is somewhat frightening, handled correctly and assessed appropriately, there will be a net benefit for all. Overly conservative, dumping of “contaminated soil” which is below the 0.01 % wgt / wgt asbestos and soil for bonded asbestos is unlikely to provide a net benefit for the community. It will however likely increase local government council rates and line the pocket of some unscrupulous asbestos consultants.

Let Asbestos Check undertake asbestos soil inspections, being NATA accredited with backing of an Occupational Hygienist, we are experts in the field. Contact our Sydney or Melbourne office for your next asbestos soil inspection.

Author: Carl Strautins

Carl Strautins


Carl Strautins is a managing director of Safe Environments Pty Ltd a multi-specialist consultancy operating in the building, construction and property management industries. He provides the necessary guidance and risk minimisation strategies required by architects, construction companies and facility managers to ensure they mitigated their risk to property risk. He is engaged on a regular basis to provide expert opinion for disputes and legal proceedings. Click here to know more about him.