ALGA has established this interest group to provide a forum for people from across the industry with specialist knowledge and/or particular interest in the topic of asbestos in soils (ASBINS), to identify and address issues, share ideas and knowledge and provide opportunities for ALGA members to improve awareness, knowledge and understanding of this topic which is still problematic after many years of deliberation.

The ultimate aim is to develop a consistent, adequately protective and practical approach to addressing this unique form of contamination, where both actual and perceived risks as well as background exposure present challenges which are not easily addressed by the conventional approaches used for other contaminants.

While recent incorporation in the ASC NEPM of guidelines developed by the West Australia Department of Health (WA DoH) has given impetus to a national approach to assessment and management of asbestos in soil, there are still difficulties in applying these guidelines to many sites, as well as some inconsistencies between regulatory and health risk approaches to management of asbestos.
The group's aims and objectives are to provide an informed industry group representing a range of stakeholders (consultants, laboratories, lawyers, contractors, regulators, property owners, developers and the community), with the group’s activities aiming to:

  • Promote a better understanding of current guidelines and regulations and the science and policy behind these
  • Promote consistent application of current guidelines and regulations
  • Identify problematic areas of the above and encourage these to be actively addressed in consultation with relevant decision-makers (eg. HACA)
  • Lead to a practical and defensible approach to viably assessing and managing problem sites which has community and regulatory acceptance.

Initial areas of interest on which the group are initially focusing are:

1. Site characterisation
2. Risk assessment and toxicology
3. Remedial technology
4. Local and international developments
5. Regulatory environment” (3 tiers of Aus plus international; to include HSE vs environment)
6. Waste management and transport / materials handling
These areas will be pursued via the following activities:

  • Case studies
  • An on-line discussion forum
  • Champions for each area of interest
  • Workshops across Australia and New Zealand
  • Conference seminar / workshop / sessions with invited international and national speakers
Sponsored by*:


*interested in sponsorship of this group?
- see here for details or contact


Current Steering Committee Members (renewed each calendar year):


Ian Gregson, Principal Environmental Consultant, GHD (Co-Chair)

Ian is an accredited site auditor with over 30 years environmental and engineering experience.  Ian started working on contaminated sites with Dames & Moore in 1989, and apart from a few years of stormwater and sewer design in Canada, has continued in this field ever since.  Ian has been based in Newcastle for 17 years, and while emphasising that he is by no means an “expert” on asbestos in soils, he has been “exposed” to the issue many times professionally; and as an owner of a series of older homes, probably more times than he is aware of.

Ian has been involved in a wide range of site contamination assessments, audits, remediation works and management plans, and has a strong interest in resolving the perceived vs actual risks of asbestos in soils, as well as the current inconsistencies between legislative requirements (including waste and workplace regulations) and health risk based guidelines.

Ross McFarland, Chief Environmental Scientist, AECOM Australia/New Zealand (Co-Chair)
Chief Assessor, SCP Australia, SCPA Certified Practitioner No. 15003, Contaminated Site Auditor (NSW, WA, NT), CRC CARE Research Fellow, Licensed Supervisor for Asbestos Removal (CPCCBC4051A) and has completed ACT’s compulsory Asbestos Awareness Training (Certificate Number 18743, dated 17 November 2014).
With more than 35 years of directly relevant experience in tackling complex environmental issues, and with the last decade focused specifically on ASBestos-IN-Soil (ASBINS), Ross has the practical wisdom to co-lead SIG-NAL.

Ross has been directly involved in national environmental policy development, including the 1992 ANZECC/NHMRC Guidelines for the Assessment and Management of Contaminated Sites, the 1999 NEPM and the 2013 revised NEPM, as well as co-authoring the 2002 ACLCA Code of Practice for ASBINS as well as having considerable involvement in the original WA Department of Health’s Asbestos in soil guidelines and the subsequent integration of this key guidance into the 2013 revised NEPM.  Ross has also chaired an international ad-hoc ASBINS Working Group that involved environmental and public health specialists working in Australia, New Zealand, UK, Netherlands, and USA.  Using his local, national and international relationships, Ross plans to ensure that best practice is achieved for the SIG-NAL. Ross is keen to bring together the diverse views within Australian industry with the outcome of producing scientifically-defensible practice through an effective SIG-NAL. Let’s send the right SIG-NAL!

David Dangerfield, Principal Environmental Consultant, Greencap
David is a contaminated land and property risk practitioner with over 15 years experience. He has worked across a number of jurisdictions in Australia and New Zealand and holds a special interest in the development of solutions to the vexing issue of asbestos in soils. Due to continuing developments internationally, he is keen to share and contribute to a scientifically defensible approach.

David has assisted in the development of policy and guidance for Department of Defence in Australia, Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (NZ), WorkSafe NZ and other agencies and regulators to promote sustainable outcomes and to reduce the overall cost burden of this issue whilst protecting human health.

Paul Nathanail, Professor of Engineering Geology, University of Nottingham ( and Managing Director, Land Quality Management Ltd (

Paul is a Chartered Geologist, a European Geologist and a Specialist in Land Condition. Paul combines his research and consultancy activities with running Nottingham's masters in Environmental Management and a unique online distance learning masters on Contaminated Land Management. In 2014 he led a team that wrote a guide on the investigation, assessment and remediation of asbestos in soil; the first such guide in the UK for 24 years.  It is published by CIRIA and excerpt is available at:

Bob Symons, National Technical Manager, Eurofins | mgt

Bob is based in Eurofin's Sydney laboratory.  Bob has a PhD in analytical chemistry from La Trobe University and has been working in the area of environmental chemistry for over 35 years employed by Australian, State and New Zealand government laboratories as well as multi-national industrial companies and laboratories.  Bob was responsible for setting up a greenfield asbestos laboratory in Sydney that has NATA accreditation for fibre sampling, counting and identification as well as qualitative identification of asbestos in soils.  Bob also has an interest in research of asbestos in air, household materials, road asphalt, dusts taken using wipes, counting asbestos fibres by electronic transmission microscopy and other inorganic fibres by scanning electron microscopy (SEM).

Dru Marsh, Senior Legal Policy Officer, Vic EPA

Dru is a Senior Legal Policy Officer in the Policy and Regulation Unit at the Victorian Environment Protection Authority. He is a practicing solicitor and has previously worked at a number of Australian commercial law firms specialising in safety and environment law. Dru has advised private-sector, government and not-for-profit clients on an extensive range of asbestos-related issues, including as defence counsel in asbestos-related prosecution and enforcement actions and addressing asbestos contamination issues in the context of corporate and property transactions. Dru was previously employed as a safety and environment consultant during which time he undertook asbestos surveys, clearance work and risk assessments. Dru has published on the topic of asbestos management in a range of safety and legal journals and has presented regularly on compliance with asbestos laws around Australia, including at ALGA events in Australia and New Zealand. More recently Dru has advised a state safety regulator on its asbestos regulations and has contributed to the New Zealand Guidelines for Assessing and Managing Asbestos in Soil through his association with ALGA. Dru holds a PhD in environmental science and analysed state dangerous goods laws as part of his law honours thesis.

Nick Cowman, Business Development Manager, Enviropacific Services

Nick has tertiary qualifications in environmental science and project management and industry qualifications as a regulator licensed friable removal supervisor Nick has strong understanding of the contaminated land and HAZMAT industries. Since commencing his career at Coffey in 2007, Nick has overseen the management of 400,000m3 + of contaminated materials. With co-mingled wastes including asbestos driving remediation objectives today, Nick shares his many experiences and lessons learnt from the contractors perspective.

Chris Kennedy, Senior Environmental Scientist, ER Consultants Pty Ltd

Chris is based in Western Australia and is currently employed as a Senior Environmental Scientist at Engtech Risk Consultants. He has over 10 years' experience in the contaminated land sector and since moving to WA in 2011 Chris has become more and more involved in the clean-up and recovery of the town of Yarloop; working alongside local and state government as well as the WA Department of Health to manage and mitigate the human health risk associated with degraded fire affected asbestos materials.

Pierina Otness, Senior Scientific Officer, Department of Health Western Australia

Pierina has nearly 20 years professional experience and she has worked as an occupational hygienist in the mining and health industries, and lectured in occupational hygiene at the Curtin Univerity of Technology. Pierina's qualifications include a Baceholr of Science Environmental Health (Occupational health and safety), Postgraduate Diploma in Health Science, Certificate IV in Assessment and Workpplace Training, and Certificate IV Surface Ventilation Officer.  Pierina is a member of ALGA, the Clean Air Society of Australia and New Zealand, and is a full professional member of the Australian Institute of Occupational Hygiene (MAIOH). Pierina drafted the enHealth Management of asbestos in the non-occupational environment which was published in 2005.

Any enquiries can be directed to ALGA via

Platinum Sponsors

Gold Sponsors

Silver Sponsors

Bronze Sponsors