The Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency (ASEA) is calling for a national, consistent approach to managing Australia’s legacy asbestos in water mains.
The call was made following the release of a new report examining six cases of rehabilitation of water and sewerage pipes containing asbestos in Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia.
“Around one-quarter of Australia’s water main pipes, as well as 5000 kilometres of sewer mains, contain deteriorating asbestos,” said ASEA CEO Peter Tighe.’’
“While there is no evidence that asbestos in cement pipes is a danger to drinking water, planning for the long-term management of asbestos is important for community safety.
“Currently, the cost of rehabilitation of asbestos water pipes is around $ 400 million nationally. This cost is expected to rise significantly as the infrastructure ages, and this has implications for water consumers.
“However, there are no nationally consistent regulations around asbestos pipeline programs.
“Water authorities and governments around the countries are encouraged to follow the findings of this report to ensure that planning is in place, and that best practice in removal of legacy asbestos from water mains is followed.”
The Agency recommends governments, water authorities and the industry all work toward the development of a clear set of nationally consistent regulations around practices to remove asbestos from water mains.
The report, Case studies of asbestos water pipe management practices, can be accessed here.
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