Removing Asbestos using Non Destructive Digging

Removing Asbestos using Non Destructive Digging

Enviropacific is the first and only company in NSW to be granted an authorisation to undertake the removal of asbestos-containing soils using non-destructive digging (NDD).


Background

Greater Western Sydney is the fastest-growing region of New South Wales currently accommodating more than 32% of the state’s population, with a forecast to increase to more than 50% within the next 15 years. This rapid expansion necessitates the need for new and upgraded civil infrastructure to ensure that residents, business, and industry are provided with the utilities and services requisite of a world class city.

Enviropacific was engaged to undertake the removal and disposal of asbestos-impacted soils as enabling works, which would permit the inspection and renewal of infrastructure and services to increase service capacity within this high urban growth and renewal area.


Problem


Earlier in the project, it was identified that owing to the congested nature of live essential services, traditional methods of removing the asbestos-impacted soils were not going to be feasible considering the risk to people and the environment.

Solution

Our team proposed a NDD methodology and risk controls that would enable the works to be delivered safely, with minimal disruption to live services, and negligible impact on visual amenity during works. While NDD itself is not a new method of excavation, the NSW Work Health and Safety Regulation expressly prohibits the use of high-pressure water on asbestos-containing materials.

Enviropacific sought an exemption from the relevant regulation and received approval from the Regulator, SafeWork NSW, for the proposed method to use NDD to safely remove the contaminated soils. This exemption and method approval granted was purported to be the first (and only) of its kind in New South Wales.

Evan Kidd, our HSE Advisor – NSW/ACT, explains, “This is an exciting time for Enviropacific, right at the forefront of industry change.  It truly goes to show that by effective communication and consultation with all stakeholders and exploring opportunities we can further minimise the risk of harm to people and the environment.”

Benefits

This methodology ensured greater cost and time savings in addition to delivering an intrinsically safer method of removal without disturbing visual amenity or increasing community apprehension concerning the works.

The project demonstrates our ability to develop options to further minimise the risk of harm to people and the environment in providing an agile, cost-effective, and far safer method of removal and disposal of contaminated soils for clients making our environments safer and communities sustainable.

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