We have all been spending more time at home lately, due to the COVID lockdown, and a regional housing boom has been brought on by Melburnians snapping up properties in Wellington – two factors that have led to an increase in DIY renovation work.
But around three-quarters of homes across Wellington Shire contain asbestos, and it is found in around 2000 old building products. That is why Wellington Shire Council and Asbestos Victoria (asbestos.vic.gov.au) are asking anyone who owns a home built before 1990 to check for asbestos before swinging a hammer to create an extension, pressure-washing a wall, replacing window sashes, pulling out a water heater and a host of other renovations.
The message of Asbestos Victoria’s National Asbestos Awareness Week 2020, which runs from 23-29 November, is “Asbestos lurks in more places than you’d think.”
You cannot tell if a material contains asbestos just by looking at it and there is no safe and easy way to handle it. Breathing in asbestos fibres can lead to asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma. So, it is critical that you follow the golden rule: If you think it might be asbestos, treat it like it is.
A householder may legally remove small amounts of asbestos from their property, but it is wise to contact an asbestos professional before starting any work. Information on asbestos removal in the home is available and licensed removalists are available at asbestos.vic.gov.au.
DIY home renovators and tradies are reminded that asbestos products must not be placed into domestic rubbish bins, placed out for hard rubbish collection or disposed of in building waste skips. In Wellington Shire, domestic quantities only can be deposited at the Kilmany Resource Recovery Centre and Landfill. Book a disposal time on 1300 130 129. Kilmany is the only waste facility in Wellington Shire that accepts asbestos.
For more on the removal of asbestos, to report unauthorised asbestos removal or dumping, contact Wellington Shire Council’s Building Unit on 1300 366 224.
For more information, including fact sheets for homeowners and tradies, visit wellington.vic.gov.au/category/waste or sign up for an asbestos safety webinar to be held at 5pm, Tuesday 24 November, at asbestostaskforce.net/webinar.
And remember, asbestos lurks in more places than you’d think.