What Every Homeowner Needs to Know About Asbestos in the Soil

24 January 2017
 Categories: Construction & Contractors, Blog

When you think of asbestos on your property, you may assume that this substance is only found in your home, perhaps in the attic as an insulator. This may be the most common area where asbestos is found, but keep in mind that this is a natural substance that can also be found in the soil. Asbestos may also become airborne and settle onto soil, if it's been used in a building that is undergoing construction or if it was used in a neighbouring home and was not contained properly. Note a few things you might consider if you're a homeowner who has found asbestos in the soil on your property.

The material is not always dangerous, but needs proper oversight

Asbestos is dangerous only when the fibres are inhaled; this means that you may not need to actually have it removed if you should find it in the soil. Some asbestos may be mixed in with the soil so compactly that there is little to no risk of it becoming airborne and a danger.

However, when considering whether or not to have the soil removed and replaced, note if there is any chance of the asbestos eventually becoming airborne, such as when soil gets very dry and dusty.  If there is asbestos in your property's soil and you don't have it removed, you may need to be cautious about keeping the soil moist enough so that the asbestos stays compacted underground.

Also, note if there is a risk of the asbestos running off the soil and into fresh water supplies, which can carry it to other areas where it might become airborne, or where it may run into wells. Remember that the asbestos may not present a danger at the moment if it's very compacted in the soil, but leaving it there means that you need to be cautious about the condition of the soil on your property and how it would affect the asbestos and its location.

Removal is not your only option

If you do want to ensure that the asbestos in your property's soil is safe and won't become airborne or affect nearby water supplies, you may not need to have it removed. Compacting the soil regularly can ensure that the asbestos doesn't become airborne or run off the soil. You can also have substances mixed in with the soil that make it more compact, such as lime or clay. These will help the asbestos to "stick" to the soil in the property, also ensuring it doesn't become airborne.