Asbestos clean-up costly

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A STOUSH is brewing between Kingston Council and the state government over a bill to remove soil containing asbestos fragments from Chelsea Bicentennial Park.

A dirt pile was dumped by council at a former landfill site at Bicentennial Park in October last year after being moved from land in Glenola Rd, Chelsea.

The Glenola Rd land, a former carpark opposite Chelsea Primary School, is owned by the Victorian Department of Education and has been leased to council as the future site of a new Chelsea Kindergarten.

Council CEO John Nevins has advised the full cost of the clean-up of both sites is expected to be $813,500.

Mr Nevins says council wants to meet Department of Education representatives to discuss the state government contributing towards the Glenola Rd site clean-up.

He said about $90,000 of costs  transporting the soil to Bicentennial Park “could have been avoided”.

The CEO said in a statement he has appointed “an independent expert” to investigate how the asbestos-contaminated soil was transported to Bicentennial Park “to identify any breakdown of procedures and to ensure further incidents are avoided”.

“This investigation is currently underway therefore the costs, timing and outcomes are unknown at this time,” Mr Nevins said.

Mr Nevins said environmental assessors Landserv analysed the Glenola Rd site.

“Results indicated that isolated areas of the site contained small amounts of asbestos and heavy metals — lead and zinc — in the surface fill material.

“It is believed the source of the contaminants was most likely historical use of lead-based paint at the site, building material from a former house demolished at the site or from fill material brought to the site sometime in the past.

“Independent expert advice has stated that the risk is very minimal.”

Mr Nevins said the contaminated soil was removed from Bicentennial Park on 16 December last year in accordance with Environmental Protection Authority and WorkSafe guidelines.

“Council notified EPA and WorkSafe regarding both sites and have complied with asbestos removal guidelines,” he said.

Removal of the remaining soil at Glenola Rd was completed in January during the school holidays, Mr Nevins said.

Asbestos was often used in building materials until the 1980s and small fibre particles can be a health danger if the material is sanded, drilled or sawn.

First published in the Chelsea Mordialloc Mentone News – 25 January 2017

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