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Adios asbestos

The Empire Lodge on Queen St has asbestos in its roof. PHOTO/FILE

Dump not accepting asbestos

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Ongoing costs to bring the landfill up to code means anyone handling asbestos will have to head out of town if they want to dispose of it properly.

But for developers and council, the affect is minimal.

An infrastructure update prepared for members of Masterton District Council’s infrastructural services committee states asbestos waste is no longer being accepted at Masterton’s Nursery Rd landfill.

MDCs manager of assets and operations David Hopman, said new rules changed the way asbestos was handled in New Zealand.

“The regulations just don’t allow you to bring it in on the back of a truck anymore.”

The council previously had policy and capacity for a small amount of asbestos disposal.

“It was really a policy of providing ability for people who’ve identified they’ve got a bit of asbestos in a shed or somewhere, small quantities, and wanted to dispose of it properly.”

He said dedicated equipment, ongoing training and air sampling “has really raised the bar on the safety requirements of asbestos disposal”.

The committee report states, “The amount of asbestos waste generated in Wairarapa means that Nursery Road will not be able to recover the costs of these changes through charges.”

Hopman said the landfill had not accepted “commercial volumes,” like that of a demolished building previously.

“But we were very keen if people had small quantities, that we could dispose of it in a safe manner, so it didn’t end up in the streams or the rivers.”

To properly dispose of the material, qualified handlers must now take it out of town to either Silverstream, which is more than an hour south of Masterton, or two hours north to Marton’s landfill.

Property developer Dave Borman is managing a project involving the demolition of the Empire Lodge on Queen St, to make way for Big Save Furniture.

The existing building has asbestos as part of its roof, which will have to be removed and carried out of town.

Borman said MDCs decision not to dispose of the material locally did not affect development opportunities in the region, and that cost-wise, it was not all that different to take it out of town.

“It’s business as usual.”

The regulations prepared by WorkSafe New Zealand in 2016 require significant changes be made at the landfill to establish separation zones, specialist equipment and decontamination facilities before asbestos could be received at the site.

Asbestos, left undisturbed, poses negligible risk to health, but poses significant risk when airborne and inhaled.

Inhalation may cause diseases like asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma.

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