Asbestos in garden

ripplyukripplyuk Forumite
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The previous tenant dumped a pile of rubble over half the garden to park cars there. I've posted before about it. I'd like to remove it and get topsoil added to have a normal garden. There's a lot of it and it's very deep so I know it's going to be expensive.

Last year, a friend was helping to shift some of the worst bits, just to smooth it out a little (its full of big holes/crevices). He stopped and said there was asbestos in it. He poked about in a few more places and said there was lots of it. I covered those bits with some soil, not knowing what else to do. The top part looks like just broken up pieces of tarmac to me but he said it's just under that.

Will it now cost a fortune to get this removed? I'm worried I'll never be able to afford it. I don't even know how to get it removed. Is it safe to just dig it up? Is it even safe as it is now?
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  • FarwayFarway Forumite
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    I am not an expert in asbestos, but first off are you sure it is asbestos?

    If it is then it is safe if not disturbed, amny older properties have asbestos in them, and left alone there is not a problem.

    It is not like radiation, or oil, and cannot creep out by itself, it needs external force to spread the fibres

    I think if it proves to be asbeatros you will have major problems because if it is deep as you say then obviously full excavation, by an approved asbestos removal firm will be needed, and I suspect they do not come cheap

    It maywell be "just" asbestos cement sort of stuff, you know, the type that were used for garage roofs and the like, in which case it is not too bad aproblem if kept wet to prvent fibres being disturbed

    As you say "previous tenant" I assume you are renting?

    In which case lucky you, get onto your landlord ASAP and breathe sigh of relief, it will be their problem on clearing the contamination, not yours
  • ripplyukripplyuk Forumite
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    I can't be totally sure. The guy who spotted it works in the building trade. He said he has seen it many times before and that he's certain. But all I remember seeing was some greyish looking stuff. I didn't look closely. I understand that this is safe if not disturbed but I worry about it getting broken down just by the weather and me walking over it. I also don't like the thought of having a building site for a garden long term.

    The house is rented but it's a council house and from what they've said, they don't need to clear it. I did tell them that I'm worried about asbestos in it, and they sent someone out, but he just looked over the fence and didn't go into the garden at all. They rang me later and said they don't have any responsibility for gardens.

    Would I have to get a surveyor to check it? If there is asbestos, how would I go about clearing it? It'll take me forever to save up for this, if I ever can afford it, but I'm also worried that everyone will refuse to touch it.
  • DavesnaveDavesnave Forumite
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    The possible asbestos is in the ground, so its wet. Provided it stays wet, there's no great risk from handling it, as there won't be stray fibres blowing around. If it's bits of old garage roof etc and not obviously falling apart, it won't be especially dangerous anyway.

    If I were dealing with it, I'd probably, take a section of the area at a time, get the bits out and store them in a dustbin full of water. I'd put the tarmac stuff on one side and continue like that until I'd cleared a skip full.

    Then, I'd get a skip to remove the ordinary rubble, drain down the dustbin(s) and double bag the asbestos in thick sacks. That could then be taken to the council/local facility which handles it, as not all of them do.

    They will charge, but the fees won't be punitive.

    If you want to be sure what you're dealing with, there's labs where you can have a sample tested for £30-40. Just Google.

    Being on an old farm site, I see lots of small asbestos bits in the garden, and also pieces of Marley Eternit, which are harmless, but look similar. I'm afraid mine always end up buried under foundations or about 4' down in soak-aways. They don't worry me much, but then I still carry around the mental image of my Dad, fag in mouth, merrily sawing-up whole sheets of the stuff 50 or more years ago!
  • hans_2hans_2 Forumite
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    If you live in a council house you should contact the housing association which manages your property, or if you are a tenant in privately-rented accommodation, you should report this to your landlord.

    http://www.durham.gov.uk/article/5489/Dealing-with-asbestos-in-the-home

    probably applies to all areas.
  • firefox1956firefox1956 Forumite
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    Quote Davesnave
    'They don't worry me much, but then I still carry around the mental image of my Dad, fag in mouth, merrily sawing-up whole sheets of the stuff 50 or more years ago!'
    Reminds me......
    40 years ago we used to saw 'Big Six' asbestos sheets up with a chainsaw!!
    Damn dust went everywhere..........
  • ripplyukripplyuk Forumite
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    :eek: :rotfl:

    I'll take it that it's not instantly deadly or anything. There must be lots of people who've done the same thing.

    I know it can be dangerous though. My grandad died of asbestosis last year so it's just made me wary of it. I couldn't move much of this myself. I'd have to get some men in. When I mention that there might be asbestos, will they run a mile?

    There's a lot of it. I'm useless with measurements but I think it's about 15meters long by 8 metres wide and at least 5 ft deep. It might take a while. And a lot of skips.
  • DavesnaveDavesnave Forumite
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    ripplyuk wrote: »
    There's a lot of it. I'm useless with measurements but I think it's about 15meters long by 8 metres wide and at least 5 ft deep. It might take a while. And a lot of skips.

    But you wouldn't need to excavate all of that!

    It would be sufficient to go down no more than 0.4m, or 0.5m at the most.

    Or less, and make up the rest with deep beds.
  • DaftyDuckDaftyDuck Forumite
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    I'd be very surprised if the Council don't have to take responsibility.... It's a path I'd put a great deal of effort into chasing long before I engaged men of my own to do the job.

    There's a huge difference between responsibility for garden maintenance, and responsibility for passing on a health hazard. The Council would have a legal obligation to avoid the latter - even if they initially decline responsibility!
  • ripplyukripplyuk Forumite
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    I'll look into that more DaftyDuck. I might first try and ring some tradesmen tomorrow and get a rough idea of the costs to see if it's something I'll realistically be able to afford myself. I did tell the council guy that I'd be happy to contribute towards the cost, if they could help with removal, but it seems they don't work that way. They either do it all or do nothing.

    After years in private rented, it's just hard to shake that feeling that if I complain about anything, I'll be evicted. I know it's more secure with council housing though.
  • If it was there before you moved in then the Council should deal with it. You need to arrange a meeting with them at the house and see what they say.
    They can't rent out a house with it lying in the garden , Granted they may not have known about it but they should put it right.
    Pure Dog Loving
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