Asbestos to be removed from Polo Flat

WORK TO REMOVE asbestos-contaminated material from Cooma-Monaro Shire Council’s stockpile site at Polo Flat will be completed by the end of September. 

The asbestos was discovered at council’s stockpile for surplus earth material, waste concrete and bitumen path and road base at 84 Polo Flat Road in June 2011. 

Council’s director of engineering services David Byrne said it had taken time to reach this stage of removing the asbestos as there were many options to be considered.

“The site was made safe immediately,” Mr Byrne said.

“The [Environment Protection Agency] EPA were able to work with us on the various options until we developed the current Plan that was going to be of most benefit to the community in the long term.” 

Mr Byrne said this type of asbestos clean up was common in Australia. 

“This type of clean up activity is quite common as asbestos has been used widely across Australia. Specialists are used for the work and all the practices that they put in place comply with appropriate standards,” he said. 

Council was issued with a clean up notice after small amounts of bonded asbestos in the form of asbestos cement construction materials (sheet and pipe) contaminating sections of fill were found at the stockpile.

The site was inspected by an officer from the EPA, along with council staff and a consultant hygenist engaged by council to collect samples to analyse for asbestos. Council staff covered and isolated the stockpile of material on the site immediately. 

Since then, council had been working closely with the EPA and Workover to ensure the works were carried out in accordance with approved standards.

A notice was published on Cooma-Monaro Shire Council’s website last week outlining that works would be undertaken between August 1 and September 30 2012 to remediate the site.

Mr Byrne said the amount of asbestos-contaminated material found at the site was small but that it had contaminated the dirt it was in. 

“The estimated amount of asbestos material is very small as stated in the Remedial Action Plan. Unfortunately, this then contaminates the dirt that it is in,” he said. 

“There may be up to 1920 tonnes but there will be an onsite asbestos assessor who will determine that.”

The contaminated material will be removed to the Cooma Landfill which is licensed to received the material. 

A contractor is yet to be appointed to remove the asbestos but Mr Byrne said they would be a licensed contractor doing the work in accordance with the EPA and WorkCover Guidelines. 

An estimate of how much the work would cost could not be given until the work was completed and contractors were finalised. 

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