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Hazardous Waste - Asbestos Sheeting

 
The following information provides advice to householders on how to remove and dispose of asbestos cement.  It is not aimed at businesses who have additional duties and responsibilities under health and safety legislation.
 
 

What is asbestos?

Asbestos is the name given to a group of naturally occurring fibrous materials.  The use of asbestos is now restricted but it was previously used in many building products, domestic appliances and household goods because of its strength and heat resisting properties.
 

Where are you likely to find asbestos?

 
Photograph of Asbestos Cement Sheets  Garage with an Asbestos roof
  • asbestos cement sheeting e.g. garage and shed roofs, rainwater pipes
  • lagging for boilers and pipe-work 
  • textured wall and ceiling coatings
  • insulating boards e.g. airing cupboard doors
The list above is not exhaustive.
 
NB. It is recommended that householders only remove asbestos cement.  All other asbestos types should be removed by a licensed asbestos removal contractor only.
 

Asbestos Cement Advice

Asbestos cement is a well bonded, sheet building material, commonly used for roofing and outbuildings such as garages.  Care must be taken not to confuse it with asbestos insulation board which is similar in appearance, but much more hazardous since it is softer.  The following advice applies to asbestos cement only; other types of asbestos are usually more hazardous and require more stringent precautions, and specialised handling and disposal by a licensed asbestos removal contractor.
 

Who Can Remove Asbestos Cement?

General builder

Many builders can remove asbestos cement without needing licensed persons.   They must, however, adhere to safe working methods and make provision for proper disposal.
 

Do-it-Yourself

You must plan the job, obtain materials and equipment and make arrangements for disposal.  Most jobs can be done relatively safely if you pay attention to detail and follow the advice below.
 
Please Note: This advice is to help minimise the risk involved in the removal of small quantities of asbestos material and is not intended to be relied on as providing a safe system of work, therefore, the Council accepts no liability for any loss or damage caused.  Visit the health and safety executive website for further information on asbestos.
 
Breathing asbestos dust is dangerous.  Any work on asbestos cement may generate asbestos dust and we advise that the following precautions are taken to minimise the risk:
  • Plan the work so that the asbestos material is handled as little as possible, in order to minimise the release of fibres.
  • Avoid creating dust from asbestos cement.
  • Never sand down or wire-brush asbestos cement.
  • Do not use power tools on asbestos cement.
  • Avoid breaking asbestos cement.
  • When working with asbestos cement it is advisable to wear disposable overalls and face mask.  Check that they are suitable for use with asbestos.  You can get advice from safety equipment centres.  After use, these should be disposed of as asbestos waste.
  • When removing asbestos cement thoroughly wet it first, particularly around any fixings.  Use an ordinary hosepipe or watering can for this, not a high-powered water jet.  Add detergent to the water if possible.
  • If dust is produced, ensure it is wet then sweep it up.  Do not hoover the dust as this may spread the asbestos dust around your house.
  • Asbestos cement waste must be wrapped in a double layer of strong polythene and sealed with parcel tape or similar.  Sheets can be wrapped together if they are not too heavy and can still be lifted.
  • If fixings are difficult to undo, try to cut them off rather than break the asbestos.

Disposal of Asbestos Cement

Free disposal of asbestos cement roof sheets is available for householders only at the Household Waste and Recycling Centre on Walney Road next to the fire station.  This site (run by Cumbria County Council) will only allow four sheets to be disposed of (or an equivalent amount) on any day.  More information can be found on the County Council’s website.
 
Householders should telephone the site on 01229 831564 to confirm when they can take the sheets for disposal as storage capacity for asbestos is restricted.
 

Using a Van or Twin Axle Trailer

Van and Trailer 
There is a permit scheme in operation at the Household Waste and Recycling Centre in Barrow.  This means that if a van or a twin axle trailer (up to 3 meters long) is used to carry waste a permit will be required.
 
Please ring 0845 055 1118 for any queries about permits for vehicles/trailers transporting waste to the site.
 
Further information is available from:
Environmental Health,
Town Hall,
Duke Street,
Barrow-in-Furness,
Cumbria
LA14 2LD
 
The information provided on this page is available to download in leaflet format here.  (PDF kb)