Presenters: David Dangerfield, AECOM
Presentation title: Asbestos in soils: detected or not

ASBestos-IN-Soils (ASBINS) has been a significant issue both nationally and throughout the world. New Zealand currently has no nationally-agreed guidelines on ASBINS due, in part, to the absence of reliable and validated data on the relationship of asbestos fibre release from soil to air. In the last five years there have been significant developments in characterising the human health risk of asbestos in soils, chiefly in the published research in the Netherlands and release of the Western Australian (WA) Asbestos in Soils Guidelines by the WA Department of Health (WAHealth) in 2009 which were formally adopted by the National Environmental Protection Council (NEPC) in Australia last year (May 2013) to name a few. Currently, New Zealand regulation of asbestos (including asbestos waste) centres on a reporting of the presence or absence of asbestos (a “hazard-based” classification).  Regulatory agencies1 in other parts of the world are providing useful definitions on what they consider to be a threshold result based on improved laboratory analytical methods. These conservative definitions mean that we can now derive a very low concentration value at which we consider asbestos is not considered to pose an unacceptable risk to human health. This risk-based approach is providing useful to obtaining permission to dispose of potential asbestos-containing material which by “hazard” characterisation processes, would not be able to be accepted. This paper shows how we are able to work within the current regulatory environment in a highly conservative manner, using risk-based protocols, until such time as we can receive formal acceptance from central government on the management of ASBINS and associated asbestos-impacted wastes.
Event: WasteMINZ Conference 2014
Date: Wednesday 23 October 2014