Asbestos is a word that can cause a bit of stir for any homeowner, as it's known to be very dangerous if not downright deadly when inhaled. Finding it in your home can be upsetting, but many homeowners don't realize that it can also be found in your property's soil. You may have had your soil tested for a new garden or to see if it could hold the foundation for a new garage; if asbestos was then found, you might wonder about how to have it removed and if this is necessary in the first place. Note a few commonly asked questions about asbestos soil removal and then discuss your options with an asbestos expert.
Is asbestos in the soil dangerous?
Keep in mind that asbestos itself isn't dangerous unless you inhale its fibers; even if it's found in a home, you can have it contained rather than removed and be completely safe. Like having rat poison in your home, there is no danger unless you ingest the substance and simply being around it or near it isn't dangerous in of itself.
However, as with rat poison, having something dangerous in the ground can mean that vegetation absorbs that chemical substance and can become contaminated. If asbestos is found in topsoil that you use for a vegetable garden, this can mean potential contamination of those vegetables if they were to absorb any of the harmful chemicals in asbestos. It's also good to consider if the material were to become airborne, for example, if you were to do any tilling or digging of the soil or if the soil were to become very dry and more likely to blow away in the wind, thereby depositing asbestos in another area.
Is removing the asbestos the only or the safest solution?
As with asbestos found in a home, there is no one-size-fits-all solution when a homeowner finds asbestos in their soil. If the material is found in the topsoil and you wish to plant a garden, it can be good to have the topsoil removed and replaced to ensure it's safe. However, if asbestos is found in one area of the property because something containing asbestos was buried in that area, you might be able to contain it by pouring cement over it, compacting the soil from above, or mixing in a substance that makes the soil more compact and the asbestos less likely to escape. An asbestos soil removalist can advise on the best option for your property.