Council takes firm stance on asbestos at transfer stations

Redland City Council has reinforced its commitment to protecting the community from potential asbestos exposure by tightening waste management practices at transfer stations.
The changes mean the onus will now be on people to prove waste doesn’t contain asbestos and if there are any doubts the material won’t be accepted at local transfer stations unless it is wrapped and sealed according to health and safety standards.
“This is in line with neighbouring local government transfer stations and will improve health and safety for locals,” Redland City Mayor Karen Williams said.
“While this may mean some minor additional work for some people to dispose of material that may contain asbestos, our first priority is the health and safety of our staff and residents, so we make no apologies for enforcing these changes.
“To make it easier and to encourage residents to dispose of asbestos correctly, Council has removed a $50 surcharge and the disposal cost for residents.  An asbestos disposal charge of approximately 21 cents per kilogram still applies for commercial customers.”
Council’s environmental spokesperson Cr Paul Gleeson said there had been 39 incidents of illegal asbestos disposal at mainland transfer stations between 27 August last year and 19 February this year.
“This costs Council thousands of dollars to dispose of and presents considerable health and safety risks,” he said.
“Asbestos containing material includes fibro, cement sheeting, asbestos cement (ac sheeting), Hardiplank, Hardiflex, Super Six roof sheeting, Villaboard, Millboard, insulating board, vinyl sheet flooring, backing material and tiles.
“Previously if someone turned up at transfer stations with this material and it was thought it didn’t contain asbestos they would be allowed to bring it into the transfer station.
“The problem is that the only way to tell for sure if material does or does not contain asbestos is through sample analysis under microscope or if it is stamped with a manufacture date.
“This examination has to be undertaken by a NATA accredited laboratory and obviously can’t be done at the transfer station gatehouse, so the only answer is for unwrapped material suspected as containing asbestos to not be allowed into the transfer station.
“The only way it will be accepted is if it is double wrapped in durable plastic and fully sealed in loads less than ten square metres.
Cr Gleeson said while some people may believe their load does not contain asbestos the fact is without the examination they can’t know for sure. 
“Although building materials manufactured after 1990 are unlikely to contain asbestos, it will be treated as asbestos containing material unless stamped with a manufacture date or if it has been examined by an accredited laboratory,” he said.
“Council staff will inspect loads as they come into the transfer station and where there is any doubt whether or not the load contains asbestos, it will not be allowed through the gatehouse.
“Another change at waste transfer stations is that residential and commercial trucks and utes can no longer tip mixed waste loads directly onto the ground.
“This means all renovation, general waste must be hand unloaded by the customer into the designated waste bins, which will reduce double handling and ensure all waste is secured in the appropriate bins.
“Council will increase monitoring for illegal dumping throughout the Redlands by installing portable cameras to capture any offences.
“Not declaring asbestos material at the transfer stations or illegal dumping can also result in fines up to $1,760 for individuals and up to $110,000 for businesses and corporations.” 
Asbestos disposal in the Redlands:
– Asbestos containing material is regulated under State Government legislation and legally, Council must comply with asbestos-related legislation at its waste transfer stations. Our conditions for the acceptance of asbestos reflect Council’s commitment to protect Council staff and members of the public visiting our facilities.

– Council has removed a previous surcharge and disposal costs for residents to dispose of asbestos at the Birkdale transfer station.  An asbestos disposal charge still applies for commercial customers.

– Asbestos can be disposed of at Council’s Birkdale Transfer Station

– Before disposing of asbestos it must be double wrapped in 0.2mm thick (durable) plastic sheeting, fully sealed and must be less than 10m2 or 250kg.  An Asbestos Disposal form must first be submitted and approved at least 24 hours prior to disposal. This form can be found on Council’s website

– To learn about asbestos in the home, visit the Queensland Health website.