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Bushfire Recovery: The Safe Disposal of Asbestos Waste

The 2019 and 2020 bush fires in New South Wales burned a large area of northern NSW and resulted in a significant number of homes and outbuildings being destroyed.

Due to the potential health risk of fire damaged asbestos in many of the homes, the NSW Government made available emergency funding for the remediation of uninsured homes burned down during the fires.

SMK Consultants were engaged along with McInnes Contracting to provide demolition and remediation works to 3 friable asbestos containing homes in Torrington, located 60 km North of Glen Innes.

Our asbestos assessors provided initial inspections, supervision and air monitoring during demolition and clearance monitoring and soil sampling. Work to demolish and remediate the 3 remote dwellings spanned 2 weeks.

The bush surrounding the remediation sites was recovering from the fires sprouting epicormic growth. A unique characteristic of the Australian bush, the leaves provided a stark contrast to the blackened trunks and limbs.

The team faced challenging conditions during works due to the remote nature of the sites and unpredictable weather patterns. Working during July in Glenn Innes resulted in some frosty and frozen windscreens – the importance of a hot thermos of coffee could not be understated!

Laboratory samples were freighted to Newcastle at the conclusion of each day with results within 24 hours. Once each site was successfully remediated and clear results had been returned, asbestos clearance certificates were issued to the relevant authorities.

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