Huge asbestos removal project underway

ARANDIS

06 August 2018 | Infrastructure

Leandrea Louw

An extensive survey which was done in 2017 on all residential and public dwellings in Arandis indicated that as much as 80% of all roofs need to be removed and replaced.

Special arrangements, however, need to be made for the careful removal and disposal of these roofs as they contain asbestos. Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that is hazardous to human health and is known to cause a type of cancer known as mesothelioma.

The first survey, which was carried out in 2015, indicated a total of 15% of roofs were in such a condition that it need to be replaced and the remaining 85% could be painted with special asbestos binding compounds. Based on this information Rössing Uranium Ltd had budgeted a fixed amount to be made available for the exercise.

The follow-up in-depth survey conducted in 2017, however, indicated that the above percentages have evolved to a new ratio of 80% removal and the remaining 20% still suitable for painting.

Rössing and Namibia Environmental Health Consultants approached Adcon CC to assist in planning, designing and executing an industrial scale asbestos removal and disposal project at Arandis. Walvis Bay has the only hazmat disposal site in the area. The estimated space requirement for the disposal of the asbestos roof sheeting at the hazmat site has increased from the original 500 m³ to an estimated 2 000 m³.

The existing area is currently utilised for both solid and liquid hazardous waste and is the only structure incorporating and containing an impermeable lining in the bottom. This impermeable lining prevents hazardous material from seeping downwards and contaminating ground water.

As a result, a proposal was submitted to the Walvis Bay municipal council by Adcon CC to construct reinforced concrete asbestos disposal cassettes and rehabilitate the hazmat site at the landfill area. A recommendation was made that council enter into an agreement with Adcon CC and in return, allow them to dispose a certain amount of asbestos at the site for free.

According to Samson Nghilumbwa, chairperson of the management committee, large solid and hazardous waste of asbestos sheeting would ideally be disposed of and contained in structurally sound and reinforced solid concrete areas.

“These reinforced concrete areas could be outside the existing lined bud area, but still within the designated hazmat boundary fencing. This will allow more space and volume for disposal of liquid type hazardous material, thus extending the serviceability and lifespan as well as creating sound and maintenance free concrete buds for solid waste,” he said.

It was recommended by the management committee that Adcon CC be invited to give a presentation on the full details of the proposed project and thereafter a report with the proposed agreement be submitted for council consideration.

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