Over recent months there have been media reports regarding the possible dumping of asbestos at the proposed Rushforth road depot site, mostly regarding disused and broken asbestos cement water pipes.
A site inspection was carried out at the site about a month ago; referencing suspected contaminated areas marked on a site plan.
United Services Union organiser Craig Chandler provided a map to the council’s works and civil director, Troy Anderson.
“A former employee, who worked at the site, marked where he says asbestos pipes were dumped over many years,” Mr Chandler said.
Subsequently (before last month’s council meeting), a survey of the site involving the drilling of sample core holes was carried out; the results of which are likely to be included in the remediation action plan [RAP] being prepared for the site.
At the February council meeting, Cr Karen Toms asked the general manager, Scott Greensill: “With the contamination issues and the amount that has been allocated [$1.173million] … is that expected to rise considering the asbestos issues that are now being discussed?”
Mr Greensill said that, while contamination and remediation issues are “being discussed, there is no identified asbestos on the site”.
“Now, if it turns up … we’ve said on multiple occasions that we will manage it, as any project manager or construction authority does.
“…The figure mentioned is based on the information that we have.
“It also states in the report that Water Cycle is responsible for reclamation [of the site, which is a former sewerage treatment plant]; if the costs happen to go up, Water Cycle [“the owner of the site”] has to meet those.
“… If further information comes to hand and we need to remedy that we’ll assess that.”
Cr Toms wasn’t satisfied.
“I’m sorry, but this is important. You’ve just told me there is no asbestos on site … so it’s absolutely untrue that we’re working on a new remedial action plan (RAP)?”
Scott Greensill: “It’s a requirement with any project that you have to have a RAP; the best information we’ve got at this point identifies that there is no asbestos; there is a part of a building, but not anything in the ground, however, they are very cautious with their reports.
“If in the process you come across asbestos, there is a specific way you have to deal with it, that’s why you have a RAP in place.
“Now, at this point in time, the best information we’ve got is being costed out … if there are additional issues we come across, we will take that into consideration and then remedy the situation.”
Noting that Mr Greensill said the council was unaware of any asbestos on the site, the mayor, Richie Williamson, asked works and civil director Troy Anderson if the RAP was for all contaminants found on the site.
Mr Anderson said it was and, as the site was a “former sewerage treatment plant, the actions in the plan [will] detail all contaminants found on the land, for it to be rehabilitated”.
At the time of writing, the council had not advised the Independent of the results of core holes drilled at the site, or how the preparation of the RAP had progressed.