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South Grafton residents breathe easy

Geoff Helisma

People who feared they were breathing in asbestos fibres due to dust escaping from Clarence Valley Council’s (CVC) new depot site at Tyson Street South Grafton can breathe easy following the results of the dusts’ analysis.

As reported in the Independent on October 4, the testing was facilitated by John Hagger, the convenor of The Clarence Forum Facebook page, via crowd funding.

A dedicated bank account was opened on September 25, seeking donations to meet the $500 cost of analysing 10 dust samples collected at nearby properties.

On October 1, Mr Hagger announced that the $500 target had been met.

“Local people have made possible what council would not,” he posted online.

“So great and generous was the support from people … we had to decline further offers.”

On the negative results, Mr Hagger posted online on October 16: “…There was NO asbestos detected in the 10 samples.

“I hope that the local people who have been forced to breathe depot dust for the last 12 months feel less anxious, because the local community did what council should have done.

“Thank you to everyone who supported this endeavour.”

During remediation of the site, CVC transported 72,000 tonnes of asbestos contaminated soil to a facility in Ipswich, Queensland.

During this time, dust monitoring was conducted at the southern, eastern and northern boundaries of the site.

There was one alert of asbestos recorded by the northern monitor on December 31, however, “upon investigation it was found a smoke haze contributed to these readings, not dust from the site,” a report to CVC stated.