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Removing an asbestos water tank
My family and I are moving to a house (circa 1964), for which my surveyor highlighted a suspected asbestos (cement) water tank.
I've been informed that this is the "safest" type of asbestos, and it not a hazard unless disturbed. However, on closer inspection I've found a pipe that has been fitted to the tank relatively recently, under which is a small pile of cement dust that clearly came from hole.
I know many people recommend leaving the tank, but we really want the thing out of our house, unless removing it in a safe manner is going to risk our health more than leaving it. We plan to stay in the house for a very long time.
We are very paranoid about these things, so would rather be over cautious simply for the piece of mind.
1) Is it work getting it tested to see if it is asbestos, because if it is not we have nothing to worry about. It sounds like it is highly likely to contain asbestos.
2) Is it worth getting an air test?
3) If we get it removed, and we want to be very safe (paranoid) what steps should be taken to remove it?
4) Considering the small mound of dust, once the tank has been removed is it worth getting the loft insulation taken up and replaced? Most of insulation is covered by boarding.
6 Answers from MyBuilder Demolition Specialists
The tank you refer to is made from asbestos cement. These are extremely regular in RAF camps and your surveyor is right in terms of the level of "safeness".
The asbestos content will be between 5-10% and it is bonded in cement. Because they are kept out of sunlight/weather and other outdoor effects they are generally in very good condition.
The cement dust under the pipe work is an issue and the sooner thats gone the better, but I would not get too worried about the tank itself. There are a couple of options to you:
1. Get an asbestos removal company (this does NOT have to a licenced company, but they do have to have trained operatives) to remove the tank,
2. Get it encapsulated (painted in a special paint),
I'm guessing that by your concern that you want rid of it. By law if the asbestos is in your home and it is asbestos cement then you are allowed to remove it yourself and take it to your local council tip where they will have specific areas for it.
In terms of protection all you require is disposable overalls, gloves and a paper mask. The mask must have a P3 filter. The dust can be collected up by using a wet sponge. this will soak the dust and prevent fibres from being released. once removed the tank must be wrapped in polythene and taped up. You need to remove it without breaking it. If you do snap a bit off don't panic. Soak the asbestos along the break to contain the fibres and replace the broken parts in a clear bag and then seal. When finished put your overalls and masks in the same clear bag.
Your insulation will not need replacing.
Although asbestos does deserve immense respect when working with it, there are a large variety of asbestos products out there and the range of safety measures will relate to what form the asbestos is in. Unfortunately a lot of bogus companies will prey on these fears and try to scare monger the customer into parting with huge amounts of cash.
Answered 25th Oct 2011
Weather you think its the dangerous type or not, get a licenced asbestos removal company out.
They will remove it safetly and issue you a certificate.
Answered 21st Sep 2011
I would go with SCR developments option!
Andrew @ Fibretechs
Answered 3rd Oct 2014
You don't have to be a licensed asbestos removal company to remove non-notifiable asbestos.
We carry out non-notifiable works every day of the week with hundreds of satisfied customers.
By all means use a license company but will be double the price.
Answered 19th May 2017
Just want to add to all the very good answers that there is no "safe" asbestos. It's the fact that it is bonded in Portland cement that makes the product safe. If the cement is crumbling and you can see the fibres then it is not safe. This also applies to roof sheets and any other asbestos cement products.
Answered 15th Aug 2017
I would agree with you I would not have an asbestos tank still in use in my house have it removed by a Licensed company do not just employ a plumber to replace it.
Good luck with it and don't make excuses for worrying about asbestos its not paranoiac its very good sense.
Answered 15th Oct 2011
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