Asbestos-cement water pipe management guidelines released

Thursday, 20 January, 2022

Asbestos-cement water pipe management guidelines released

The Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency (ASEA) has released the Asbestos-Cement Water and Sewer Pipe Management Guidelines, to help water and sewerage providers eliminate or minimise the risk of exposure to asbestos fibres released from asbestos-cement (AC) pipes. It is estimates that more than 40,000 km of AC water and sewer pipes remain in the ground across Australia. Installed between the 1920s and the 1980s, the AC pipes are approaching the end of their usable lifespan, requiring maintenance or replacement.

AC pipes can be hazardous when asbestos fibres are released into the air or soil, which can occur when the pipes are damaged, disturbed or deteriorating. The guidelines released by ASEA provide practical advice about identifying, assessing and controlling the risk of exposure to airborne asbestos fibres, in accordance with current work health and safety and environment protection laws.

The guidelines include information about controlling asbestos exposure risks during maintenance and removal of AC water and sewer pipes, as well as methods to safely remediate deteriorating AC pipes and manage decommissioned AC pipes that remain in the ground. The guidelines were developed in collaboration with industry representatives, state and territory work health and safety regulators, environment protection regulators and trade unions.

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