Disposal of asbestos and other contaminants

The use of asbestos in Australian homes

It is now accepted that there is no safe level of exposure to asbestos for the contraction of mesothelioma, and that small exposures can cause the deadly cancer. There is no treatment for mesothelioma and the average life expectancy for somebody is 9 to 12 months from diagnosis to death.

It is estimated that one in three homes built in Australia before 1985 contain asbestos. Asbestos production peaked in Australia in the 1970s. The asbestos products remaining in place are largely over 40 years old.

Before 1978 no warning was placed on products that contained asbestos. No Australian jurisdiction requires sellers or owners to undertake and provide purchasers or tenants with an asbestos survey to identify products containing asbestos within the home.

It is a common misconception that asbestos identification is included in a standard building report, however, most building reports do not cover asbestos, simply informing a purchaser to “assume asbestos is present,” based on the age of the property.

Further research commissioned by ASEA from the Monash University Centre for Occupational Environmental Health showed that, during standard do-it-yourself renovation tasks involving asbestos-containing materials, asbestos fibres are released into the atmosphere well in excess of current occupational standards.

Some examples of where asbestos can be found is in forms of concrete, asbestos cement sheeting (AC sheeting or ‘Fibro’), vinyl floor coverings, lagging of pipes and boilers, and insulation (laid or sprayed).

Why is asbestos a health risk?

Asbestos becomes a hazard when microscopic fibre fragments become airborne and are inhaled. Due to their size and shape they can remain airborne for some time and enter even the smallest air passages in the lungs where they embed in lung tissue, which, in turn, causes several different diseases such as: pleural disease, asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma. The typical period between exposure and the onset of symptoms is 20 to 40 years. It is estimated the peak of asbestos-related diseases will not be until the 2020s.

For further information on where asbestos may be located and how to manage it, please visit the below links:

SafeWork Factsheet

Asbestos Awareness

Asbestos Diseases Foundation of Australia

The Environmental Protection Authority

It is recommended that people carrying out development works familiarise themselves with the information available on these sites and take appropriate steps to minimise or remove any risk of exposure.

Where can you dispose of asbestos?

Before taking asbestos for disposal – phone first.

Always contact the landfill or local council beforehand to find out whether they accept household asbestos, any requirements for delivering asbestos to the landfill, and whether you need to book to dispose of asbestos (many landfills require a booking at least 24 hours in advance)

The NSW Environment Protection Authority does not endorse any of the landfills listed or guarantee that they will accept asbestos under all circumstances. Users are responsible for checking these details before taking asbestos to the landfills listed.

Phone Number
Walgett Waste Facility
0428 628 022
Duff St, Walgett, 2832
Narrabri Waste Facility
(02) 6792 5475
Yarri Lake Rd, Narrabri, 2390
Narromine Waste Facility
(02) 6889 9950
Gainsborough Rd, Narromine, 2821

Report illegal dumping of asbestos

To report the illegal dumping of asbestos anywhere other than an approved landfill site that accepts asbestos waste products, contact the Environment Protection Authority here.

Concerned that your land may be contaminated?

Please familiarise yourself with Council's Contaminated Land Management Policy, then contact Council for further help:

Contaminated Land Management Policy - adopted August 2021