Councillor Richie Williamson, Ian Feek from Ridgemill, Clarence Valley Council general manager Scott Greensill and Shaun Spry and Matt Hunter from Hutchinsons Builders at the South Grafton super depot site when work started in August.
Councillor Richie Williamson, Ian Feek from Ridgemill, Clarence Valley Council general manager Scott Greensill and Shaun Spry and Matt Hunter from Hutchinsons Builders at the South Grafton super depot site when work started in August. Tim Howard

Asbestos action plan at depot site

THE discovery of about 900kg of bonded asbestos among waste at the new Clarence Valley Council depot in South Grafton has prompted the council to call a public meeting.

A report prepared for Tuesday night's council meeting revealed large pieces of concrete, tyres, car parts, fencing and road markers have been found alongside the asbestos.

The clean-up costs have been estimated at up to $2.5 million.

Council's works and civil director Troy Anderson said the organisation was keen to allay any concerns the community might have about how the asbestos and other contaminants found at the site were being handled.

"It's fair to say we have found more there than any of our independent pre-work reports indicated," he said.

"But now it has been uncovered, we will deal with it and that will be done according to all relevant safety guidelines.

"During excavation of the site about 900kg of bonded asbestos has been found.

"It is a substantial amount but to put it into perspective, that is about 0.015% of the material on site and will all be dealt with in a safe and controlled manner."

Mr Anderson said the contracted builder, Hutchinson Building, had installed air monitoring stations around the boundary of the site and taken other precautions.

"The contractors have also kept the neighbouring South Grafton High School and residents informed of developments," he said.

Mr Anderson said it would add to the cost of the depot project but it should be remembered the rehabilitation work would be required regardless of whether a depot was going to be built.

"We have to fully decommission that sewer treatment plant and that involves cleaning up the site," he said.

On Tuesday, councillors approved the call for the public meeting.

"Council has been fully updated and briefed earlier this afternoon," Mayor Jim Simmons said. "We have our head around the issue and it is important to us that the community be brought up to speed as we have."

The meeting will be held in the Grafton council chamber on Thursday, December 1 from 5.30pm. Representatives of the contractors and government agencies will also attend.



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