MidCoast Council has cordoned off areas of several parks and sporting grounds in Taree and Wingham following the discovery that fill contaminated with small fragments of bonded asbestos was used on sections of the grounds.
Council’s Director of Liveable Communities, Paul De Szell, has confirmed contaminated fill has been spread on parts of Edinburgh Park, Stokes Park and three locations at the Taree Rec Grounds.
“A small pile of the contaminated fill is also located at the Wingham Sporting Complex; however, it has not been used on any of the playing surfaces.”
Mr De Szell said it is important to note there is no danger to nearby residents or anyone who has used the grounds as the asbestos fragments found on the sites are bonded and present no harm in their current state.
All impacted areas are being cordoned off to stop community access.
“We have had samples taken from each site for testing by specialist occupational hygienist consultants Hazmat Services,” Mr De Szell said.
“Test results from Edinburgh Park, the first location the contaminated fill was identified, have indicated no impact to the air quality of the area and soil tests have returned negative for asbestos.
It is expected that the testing underway at the additional sites will have the same result.”
The closure of the areas comes following a report to the EPA Pollution Hotline on Friday 10 February that there had been an incident of illegal dumping (asbestos) on Edinburgh Park, Taree.
The material was covered, areas cordoned off and the entire park fenced while further investigations were undertaken.
“Our investigation into how the fill was contaminated has revealed an incident of illegal dumping of asbestos onto a stockpile of Council fill that has then been used on the parks impacted.”
Mr De Szell said the result of the investigation and findings have been reported to the EPA.
“We will be working closely with the EPA on remediating the areas before reopening them to the community.”
The EPA has issued Council with a clean-up notice for Edinburgh Park and is expected to do the same for the additional sites.
A remediation plan will be developed for each site by specialist occupational hygienist consultants Hazmat Services.