“Further testing of the proposed Clarence Valley Council works depot site at South Grafton has reinforced earlier findings,” says Clarence Valley Council in a media release.
The council’s acting general manager, Ashley Lindsay, said assessments undertaken by independent consultants Parsons Brinckerhoff showed there was no friable asbestos on any land that might be used for the new depot.
“This site (the corner of Rushforth Road and Tyson Street) poses no asbestos-related health risks to anyone,” he said.
“Normally we wouldn’t release the study results because it’s just part of the normal predevelopment assessments we need to undertake, but [we] felt there was a need in this instance because there has been some misplaced public concern about risks.”
Mr Lindsay said the new report “backs up findings of a report prepared in 2013” and that the “latest report shows there is one pipe containing asbestos on site, but it poses no risk in its current state.”
The Parsons Brinckerhoff report states: “The asbestos pipe identified anecdotally to extend from the former sludge lagoon area to the settlement pond was not identified during excavation works; however, an asbestos pipe was identified at the southwest portion of the site.
“The extent of the pipe could not be safely exposed through excavations carried out onsite.”
Mr Lindsay said the remediation action plan (RAP) was amended on the basis of the findings.
The RAP states: “Taking into account the uncontrolled nature of material stockpiled on the site, an appropriately qualified hygienist will observe any soil excavation and processing works of fill to identify and remove isolated fragments of suspected bonded asbestos.
“If a significant amount of suspected bonded asbestos is encountered all works must cease and the appropriate additional controls implemented.”
Mr Lindsay, however, said, although the assessments found no friable asbestos, “care would still be taken when the site was rehabilitated … we cannot absolutely guarantee nothing will turn up when we start cleaning up the site”.
“If it does we will deal with it appropriately and safely,” he said.
“We do need to remember it was the site of a sewage treatment plan, so you wouldn’t expect it to be completely clean but people can be assured we’ll do everything properly – as we have done all along.”