Workers load a truck with contaminated soil during the clean up of the Clarence Valley Council super depot site at South Grafton last month.
Workers load a truck with contaminated soil during the clean up of the Clarence Valley Council super depot site at South Grafton last month. Tim Howard

Asbestos health concerns spark calls for a register

A SOUTH Grafton resident wants people living near an asbestos contaminated construction site near her home to sign a register to show they have been exposed to the outlawed building product.

The resident, Joan O'Connor, who lives about 400m from the depot site, fears the council has not done enough to protect residents from the dust blowing from the site during a clean-up ordered after asbestos was discovered there late last year.

From December to mid February about 70,000 tonnes of soil contaminated with asbestos fibres and bio solids have been trucked away from the site on the corner of Rushforth Rd and Tyson St.

Mrs O'Connor said she has been unhappy with the council's response to her fears and had contacted the NSW Minister for Environment and Heritage, Gabrielle Upton.

"This site was originally a dumping ground for all manner of waste products including: oil, plants, building materials, cement etc," she said.

"My concern is that initially strong winds carried dust from the site into local residents homes and also the South Grafton High School.

Mrs Roberts attended a meeting at the council chambers in Grafton soon after the discovery of asbestos on the site.

"I went to a council meeting for residents which was advertised for 6.30pm when in fact it started at 5.30pm," she said.

"More than 30 residents attended and tried to voice their concern and were only given 15 minutes to do so.

"One of the main concerns was the lack of information to the residents and the high risk of asbestos contamination from the dust from the excavation."

Clarence Valley Council works and civil director, Troy Anderson, said council had no problems with people setting up registers but believed it would achieve little.

"The clean-up of the site was undertaken under strict environmental conditions, was approved and supervised by the Environmental Protection Authority and an independent hygienist," he said.

"At no time did they raise any concerns with council about how the clean-up was conducted or about any health risks it might have created.

"The air in and around the site was monitored constantly and at no point was any asbestos above background levels detected.

"According to every piece of information we have, this operation did not pose a risk to the community.

"We would not allow that to happen."



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