Over 200m of Asbestos Pipe

When: March 2021

Location: Underbank Estate, Bacchus Marsh

Client: Winslow

Job value: $15k

The Brief:
We were asked to remove 200 meters of asbestos pipe that was previously used as a main sewer line for the Underbank Estate in Bacchus Marsh.

Prior to beginning the removal, we liaised with other contractors to ensure safe separation and excavation. Once we had an action plan, we provided the machinery and trained operators to safely remove the asbestos pipes and put them into GMA lined bins for safe transport to a licensed landfill.

The Challenges:
Given the scale of the job, we needed to ensure the asbestos piping could be safely excavated and separated. Asbestos is at its most dangerous when its disturbed, which means any damage to the pipe could result in airborne fibres or contamination to the surrounding area.


How did we remove 200 meters of asbestos pipe safely?

External Contractors:
GMA is an expert in many things, but occasionally we need to loop in external contractors or experts in other areas. When dealing with asbestos, you can’t afford a trial-and-error approach. We ensured that our plan had all the necessary precautions in place prior to beginning work.

Managing the risks:
Asbestos cement was often used for underground piping due to its durability, years later they discovered it also tended to deteriorate over time. This became an even bigger problem as the asbestos fibres began to contaminate the contents of the pipe and the soil around it.

Due to the scale of the job, we needed to use heavy machinery to excavate the pipework whilst simultaneously removing any asbestos contaminated soil. The other challenge was making sure we didn’t chip or crack the pipes, which could create further contamination.

To eliminate risk, we ensured the following:

  • All GMA staff were fitted with full PPE equipment when on site.
  • The site was isolated from any non-essential personnel.
  • If there was any risk of asbestos fibres becoming airborne, we would wet the area prior to continuing work. This ensures the soil and asbestos fibres remain clumped together.
  • We used controlled excavation methods to ensure the asbestos pipes weren’t chipped or cracked.
  • All excavated pipe was placed in a GMA lined bin, then sealed for safe transport.
  • All asbestos contaminated material was delivered to an EPA approved licensed landfill.
  • All checks and measures were completed to ensure safe handover of the site back to the client.

Taking the extra steps in planning ensured the job was completed without incident, on time and within budget.