Communities in the Riverland and around the country have struggled through a slow-moving disaster watching the progress of the floods along the river and waiting to see whether their properties would be affected. Many properties were inundated – shacks, businesses, caravan parks, homes and crops were lost. People had to find somewhere else to live in the short term.
Now the water has receded, and the clean-up can start. Many have to make hard decisions – how bad is the damage? Is the property salvageable? Can it be rebuilt/repaired? Is it safe to rebuild in the same spot? An important part of decision making will be the insurance assessor's report so people can find out what their financial situation is. Once the decision is made to stay or go, the next thing will be trying to get hold of tradies to do the work.
DANGER - ASBESTOS
River Murray residents, shack owners and emergency response crews are being warned of the dangers of handling asbestos when flood waters subside. SafeWork SA advises that Asbestos-containing material that has dried since the flood or storm can be cleaned with soapy water and a cloth or sponge. It is also safe to lightly scrub the material with a soft brush or broom and spray it gently with a garden hose. It is important to not use a high-pressure hose as this may break the surface and release asbestos fibres into the air, which are then breathed in.
People cleaning-up after the flood or undertaking any repairs, renovation or demolition work are being urged to become familiar with the type of products that may contain asbestos and where to find them. The South Australian Government asbestos website has a page to help identify asbestos in the home.
Asbestos materials that are beyond cleaning, will require removal by a licensed asbestos removalist to reduce the risk of exposure during removal. A licensed asbestos removalist will have the relevant training and equipment to safely remove the asbestos from your home.
By law, asbestos waste must be taken to a licensed transfer stations or waste depots. It is recommended that you contact your local transfer station or waste depot for advice. Go to the EPAs Wastes containing asbestos – removal, transport and disposal for a list of licensed waste facilities.
It is illegal to dispose of asbestos in the normal rubbish collection, and a crime to dump it in the street, or on vacant land.