The Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency (ASEA) has released guidelines to assist water and sewerage service providers in managing risks associated with asbestos in pipelines.
It is estimated that more than 40,000 km of asbestos-cement (AC) water and sewer pipes remain in the ground across Australia.
Installed between the early 1920s to late 1980, these AC pipes are reaching the end of their usable lifespan, requiring maintenance or replacement.
The Asbestos-Cement Water and Sewer Pipe Management Guidelines were devised to help providers eliminate or minimise the risk of exposure to asbestos fibres released from AC pipes.
These pipes become hazardous when asbestos fibres are released into the air or soil, which occurs when the pipes are damaged or disturbed.
These guidelines provide practical advice on how to identify, assess and control the risk of exposure to airborne fibres in accordance with current work health & safety and environment protection laws.
Guidelines include information on controlling exposure risk during maintenance and removal of AC water and sewer pipes.
They also include methods for safely remediating deteriorating AC pipelines and for managing decommissioned AC pipes that remain in the ground.
The Asbestos-Cement Water and Sewer Pipe Management Guidelines have been developed in collaboration with representatives from industry, state and territory work health and safety regulators, environmental protection regulators and trade unions.
For more information visit the ASEA website.