Asbestos can be very harmful if dispersed into the atmosphere. That is due to the dust and fibers, which when inhaled, can cause fatal diseases such as mesothelioma. Asbestos may occur naturally but most soil contamination is caused through one of two ways : either through buildings made from asbestos materials or contaminated top soil.
Buildings constructed in the 50s to the late 80s contained asbestos materials. Asbestos was very popular during that time period due to its strength, ability to resist heat and fireproofing properties. However, several studies have brought to light the major negative impact of asbestos to people's health. One such study was performed in a research laboratory in Vienna General Hospital's Comprehensive Center for Cancer revealing the damaging asbestos effects leading to pleural cancers.
Types Of Asbestos Contamination
Asbestos is divided into two types. There is the friable type which is very dangerous as it has a very high potential of easily contaminating the atmosphere. The other type is the non-friable form that can be harmless if left undisturbed. As long as no one drills, screws or sands onto the non-friable type, there is no cause to worry.
However, since it is already present and has the potential of releasing its dust and fibers into the air, the best solution is to have a professional completely remove it. That way, there is no possibility of contamination from accidental disturbance.
The degree of risks from soil contaminated with asbestos greatly depends on the nature of the asbestos, as well as its quantity and use. For starters, it is important to first identify the type of asbestos present in the soil to determine the urgency of removal. As a result, it goes without saying that friable asbestos requires immediate removal and disposal.
Steps In The Management Of Asbestos Contamination In The Soil
The first step in the management of asbestos contaminated soil is identifying the asbestos type through soil testing. It creates a chance to assess the nature of asbestos and develop a plan for proper removal and disposal. What follows is the actual and proper removal and disposal of the contaminated soil.
The next step is to monitor the air for any signs of released dust and fibers. This is mostly important during construction due to the amount of soil moved on the ground. It eliminates the possibility of construction workers from inhaling any loose asbestos dust and fibers.
Methods Of Disposal Of Asbestos Contaminated Soil
Capping or land filling is one of the methods of asbestos disposal from the soil. However, it may be expensive. Therefore, segregation of the deadly material from the contaminated soil is cheaper and just as effective. Segregation allows for people to save lots of money as the contractors remove lesser soil and consume lesser time compared to land filling method. Additionally, the segregation method promotes non-hazardous soil while the treated soils are retained.
All these methods require a professional handling due to the hazardous and delicate nature of asbestos. Besides handling the contaminated soil, an expert will be able to monitor asbestos contamination in the air, as well as provide safety procedures for people to follow to minimize further contamination.