7 no 3, 1999
Queensland Ceiling Dust Contractor's Experience
By Elizabeth O'Brien, The LEAD Group Inc.
On the 27th October 1999, Verne Byrne of Spout Vac Services from Brisbane, dropped into The LEAD Group's office to deliver the survey of ceiling dust contractors, pick up some fact sheets on ceiling dust and get the latest information on what was happening with the Australian Dust Removalist's Association. He had the first information I'd heard about the ceiling dust removal scene in Brisbane, including:-
Verne has been working removing ceiling dust in Brisbane for the past 18 months;
The Queensland Dept of Housing has paid for ceiling dust removal in all the houses they've recently removed the asbestos sheeting roofs from. Verne did the vacuuming and bagged the dust and disposed of it in the same large skip that the plastic wrapped asbestos sheeting was placed in, for appropriate disposal;
Verne vacuumed the dust in an 1864 Queenslander with tongue and groove ceilings and the day after got a call from the householder to say that it was the first day for years that she had not woken up wheezing with asthma. Previously dust from the ceiling could be observed as a fine film every day on the bedspread under the tongue and groove ceiling;
As far as Verne knows, there is no plan by the Airport authority in Brisbane to undertake an aircraft noise insulation project, even though the very few houses around the airport are quite old and would presumably require ceiling dust removal if insulated.
Ceiling Dust Industry Training Course
30th August 1999
Sorry I can't attend your meeting but I would like to express my interest in joining and having input in an Industry Association for Ceiling Dust removalists.
I would like to see some regulation in the industry and think an Association is a good vehicle for this as Government departments I have spoken to have no interest in this issue.
My suggestion would be to have members comply with Construction Industry Induction Training Code of Practice, which should be complied with anyway.
The Association could write a Work Activity Industry Training Course for members use. This would satisfy the need for formal training and help members comply with WorkCover requirements "killing 2 birds with 1 stone". I would go further and insist on members having equipment inspected by Association delegate using a guide written by Association to ensure equipment has HEPA Filtration of the correct area and particulate-trapping capacity. HEPA filtration is ineffective if filter does not have correct surface area for the airflow passing through it. Custom designed equipment as well as some professionally designed equipment I have seen may be lacking in this area.
In my opinion membership criteria should be as above or similar. Pricing protocol may be a sticky one but if Association members conform to suggested membership criteria and Government and Industry support the Association the pricing structure each member chooses will be comparable to other members and not "cowboys".
NOBAC CLEANING PTY LTD
Burning Lead Painted Wood in "Home Incinerators"
1 Nov 99
From: Isabelle Albert
Enclosed in Isabel's letter was the following letter published in the Wentworth Courier, Wed Sep 22,'99.
What on earth is going into those trendy wood heaters?
Visiting friends for dinner, I saw the glass-fronted wood heater being loaded with painted wood - probably the old back fence. An acquaintance offered an unwanted wardrobe, saying: "If no one wants it, I'm just going to smash it up and use it for firewood." Is this the latest in high-tech garbage disposal? Quicker and easier than a rubbish skip or waiting for council clean-up days. Cuts firewood costs too.
Enclosed wood heaters allow the burning of just about anything without the occupants smelling it. Lead paint, treated wood (arsenic, copper), plyboard (embedded with glue), old floors (treated with pesticides) are going up the chimney to spew on neighbours.
Who needs the Waterloo incinerator? Some residents are creating their own mini incinerators in their lounge rooms.
I. Albert, Bondi Junction
Sent this letter to the local paper a few days after the dinner by lead paint firelight mentioned. We left the dinner immediately we noticed, we had our new baby with us. Found out from the EPA that the burning of lead paint and other toxic substances in home heaters is not illegal.
My 8 year-old told me that the elder siblings of one kid she visits, collect old wood from rubbish skips they pass in the street walking home. There are plenty of these skips as renovating the old houses (1890-1920) here is booming. That's a lot of layers of lead paint thrown into their wood heater.
This could be partly undoing all the good work that The LEAD Group has put in.
Lead Audits for TarpTown CCC's
The following is an extract of a letter from NSW Department Of Community Services (DoCS) to Child Care Centres (CCC's) / Services in South East Sydney Area, following the April 1999 hailstorms.
Dear Service Provider,
...It is imperative that Child Care Centres built prior to 1970 that sustained roof or ceiling damage have a Lead audit done and forward a copy of the Lead Safety Certificate to this office as soon as possible. This Certificate is also required for services built prior to 1970 where water has entered the building and either seeped through the ceiling and/or run down the walls.
DoCS, REDFERN NSW 2106,
Carpets: Recycling or Landfill?
A letter to
TEC from Elizabeth O'Brien, National Coordinator,
To: Jeanette Neave,
You may recall that I asked NSW Environment Minister Bob Debus at the TEC's Greenprint conference whether the wet or dirty carpet from thousands of hail-damaged homes in Eastern Sydney was being recycled or reused or just taking up valuable landfill space. His answer was that he didn't know and I got the same answer from councils and the Disaster Recovery Centre. So I rang the only 2 carpet re-use companies in Sydney and between them they had only done two commercial jobs as a result of the hail, as neither of them deals with household quantities of carpet. They just vacuum it and cut it up and resell carpet from commercial buildings to whoever will buy it, thus passing the fine particle contamination on.
My questions for the waste management inquiry are:
Can the Smith Family be given some assistance to bring to fruition their 5 years of research on actually re-cycling carpets (ie dissolving the glue between the fibres and the backing and separating the two for reprocessing into carpets or other products)?
If carpet re-use is viable on a commercial building, why can't councils get together household quantities of old carpet to make residential carpet re-use viable?
Could some research and development money be given to, for instance, Elite Maintenance Service (a carpet cleaning company) to develop a system of cleaning fine particulate contamination out of carpets and even recycling lead and other pollutants removed from the carpets? This would be more ecologically sustainable than current practice.
Could TEC be given some research funding to find out the tonnage of carpet that has gone to landfill say, in the last year, and, since the 14-4-99 hailstorm? And to find out if it's significantly shortened the lives of landfills used by Sydney.
Yours Sincerely, Elizabeth O'Brien
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