Asbestos in Soil

The city of Sarnia, Ontario has seen more than its share of grief when it comes to asbestos. A former foundry and insulation plant exposed workers to shocking levels of asbestos exposure – in some cases hundreds of times over the legal limit. It’s possibly the worst example of workplace asbestos exposure in Canada and those former workers are now paying the price with their health, suffering an inordinate number of cases of cancer and lung problems.

This past summer, insult was added to injury when asbestos was found in the soil of Centennial Park on the city’s waterfront. The cost of asbestos remediation is putting a damper on new public works projects.

Asbestos – In the Soil
I think most of us commonly associate asbestos contamination with the indoors, where the one-time “miracle” construction material was used in everything from roofing to floor tiles and nearly everything in between.

Asbestos was fireproof and virtually indestructible – what’s not to like? It was only decades later when its awful effects on human health began to be seen, largely in workers like those in Sarnia who’d been repeatedly exposed over a long period of time. When asbestos fibres are released into the air, these can be inhaled and lead to deadly mesothelioma among other serious health problems.

In industrial and former industrial areas, asbestos may also be present in the soil. If any manufacturing activities produced asbestos dust, or if asbestos containing materials were stored or discarded on site, the debris is just as indestructible even while it remains in the dirt.

Asbestos Containing Materials

Now theoretically, if the asbestos stays in the soil, damp, it poses no immediate danger. However, it’s obvious that soil can be either moist or dry, and is disturbed and turned over constantly by the passage of the seasons along with human and animal traffic. In effect, it becomes a kind of asbestos containing material (ACM) – just like the mixtures of vinyl or concrete and asbestos that were commonly made into tiles or formed into other shapes.

For the sake of human safety and health, it needs to be cleaned up. Nowadays, many former industrial areas have been redeveloped into residential areas, which pose the question: is there more asbestos to be found in the ground?

Asbestos in Your Home
If your home was built before the late 1980’s, it may very well contain asbestos or ACM in many areas and in many forms. Let the asbestos experts at GreenStream Environmental help you deal with your asbestos issues. GreenStream Environmental, our seasoned team of asbestos removal experts can handle large or smaller asbestos remediation or removal jobs.

  • In the Toronto area contact at (416) 818-9414. Contact us for a quote today.

Featured in Mike Holmes’ magazine, HGTV’s Income Properties, W Network’s Love It Or List It and chosen by as “Best Toronto Asbestos Removal Company” based on customer ratings and reviews, GreenStream Environmental Services are fully-certified, trusted and insured professionals in the removal and disposal of commercial, industrial, institutional and residential asbestos, vermiculite and mould (hazardous and non-hazardous). Providing emergency service 24/7/365 for all of Toronto and the GTA (North York, Mississauga, Markham, Brampton, Scarborough, Ajax, Oshawa, and beyond) GreenStream has over 40 combined years of experience serving clients such as the City of Toronto, the Toronto District School Board and many more. For a free estimate in Toronto, the GTA and Southern Ontario, call today at 416-818-9414.  You’ll be glad you did.

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