Byron Shire residents are being asked to keep an eye out for people who may be illegally dumping rubbish after the discovery last month of 40-50kg of asbestos on Parmenters Rd at Wilsons Creek.
The material was found close to the road and sitting approximately 150m from a creek bed.
Council’s Waste Education and Compliance Officer, Kate Akkerman, said the potential impact of asbestos on human health is well documented and the dumping of asbestos is a serious crime.
“For someone to dump this asbestos with no regard for human health or the impact on the environment is absolutely disgraceful and anyone with information is asked to contact Council,” Ms Akkerman said.
“The fines for this sort of thing are around $2 million for corporations and $500,000 for individuals and this is an indication of the importance of disposing of asbestos safely,” she said.
“We were notified by a local resident who suspected it was asbestos and we investigated immediately,” Ms Akkerman said.
“Luckily we got it cleaned up before the heavy rain,” she said.
The asbestos was taken to the Stotts Creek facility at the Tweed because the Byron Resource Recovery Centre is not licensed to take the material.
Byron Shire Council offers free asbestos testing kits which can be collected from the Customer Service staff at office in Mullumbimby.
“There are instructions in the test kit telling people how to take a sample and send it to a laboratory to get tested,” Ms Akkerman said.
“The results normally come back from the laboratory fairly quickly and depending what they show, people can either start work or alternatively take steps to have the asbestos managed and removed.
Asbestos removal kits are available from Council’s Resource Recover Centre at Myocum for use on areas less than 10m2.
For larger areas, greater than 10m2, removal must be undertaken by a licenced contractor.
If people need to dispose of asbestos they should go to the NSW Environment Protection Agency website (www.epa.nsw.gov.au).