EPA provides technical advice to support clean-up operations. If you require assistance in clean-up after a flood, contact Emergency Recovery Victoria on 1800 560 760.


Be cautious when assessing and working with flood-impacted property and waste. Floods can cause harmful materials, such as asbestos, to shift or become exposed.


Asbestos can be found in some fibre cement sheeting and pipes, vinyl floor tiles, electrical parts and roof materials. It is not always possible to tell if a material contains asbestos simply by looking at it.

If you are disposing of flood-related waste and if you are in any doubt whether it might contain asbestos (or any other harmful material):

  • Do not disturb the material
  • Take reasonable step to prevent others from disturbing the material.

 For help, please read our asbestos transport and disposal guidance (PDF)

Transporting domestic asbestos

Prior to transporting, you must package domestic asbestos in the right way. You must only dispose of asbestos at landfills licensed to accept asbestos.


Asbestos Victoria has an asbestos identification tool

The safest way to clear asbestos from a property

We recommend you use a licensed asbestos removalist to perform the clean-up work. They know how to remove and dispose of asbestos safely, without risk to you and your neighbours.

If you are using a contractor to remove asbestos, they must be licensed by WorkSafe Victoria. Their website has a list of licensed asbestos removalists or you can search online.

If you’re considering doing the clean-up yourself, you should follow guidelines available for homeowners at Asbestos Victoria.

It’s important that you take precautions to avoid risk to your health, and that of your family and neighbours. If potentially or suspected asbestos materials must be moved and are not already wet, they should be wetted down to prevent dust. Personal protective equipment (dust mask, gloves and coveralls) should be worn.

For more information

  • Go to asbestos.vic.gov.au, a collaborative website involving EPA Victoria, Department of Health and Human Services, and WorkSafe Victoria.


To protect your health, assume all floodwaters are contaminated. Wear personal protective equipment, such as a mask and gloves and always wash your hands thoroughly after participating in flood clean-up activities. 

Transporting domestic asbestos

Prior to transporting, you must package domestic asbestos in the right way. You must only dispose of asbestos at landfills licensed to accept asbestos or call us on 1300 372 842 for more information on where you can take your asbestos waste for disposal. Always contact the facility before visiting to ensure it is operating. 

For more information

What is asbestos?

The term asbestos refers to a group of naturally occurring minerals found in rock. White, blue and brown asbestos were all mined in Australia until 1983. Asbestos was used widely in industrial and commercial applications from the late 1800s. Uses included asbestos cement (AC) building materials, roofing tiles, fire blankets, and brake linings and pads for motor vehicles.

Asbestos cement was commonly used in the construction of residential buildings from the 1940s – houses built before 1990 are likely to have some asbestos cement products.

Health risks of asbestos

Asbestos only poses a risk to health when asbestos fibres are inhaled as dust. Asbestos cement materials that are in good condition don’t pose a health risk, because the asbestos fibres are bound together. If the material is damaged or crumbling, or has been disturbed by cutting, drilling or sawing, fibres may be released into the air and pose a health risk.

Inhalation is the main way  asbestos fibres can enter the body. When the fibres are inhaled, they can remain deep in the lungs, causing scarring and inflammation. Asbestos exposure can increase the risk of some forms of cancer in humans. 

We are all exposed to low levels of asbestos in the air we breathe every day. However, most people do not become ill from this exposure, because the levels of asbestos present in the environment are very low. Whether a person goes on to develop an asbestos-related disease depends on a range of factors; for example, the level and duration of exposure, length of time since first exposure, the fibre type, and concurrent exposure to tobacco smoke and other carcinogens.

More information about the health risks of asbestos is available at Asbestos Victoria

Download the factsheet

You can download a PDF version of this information clearing asbestos waste after a flood factsheet (PDF).


Reviewed 9 November 2022