Precautions taken to ensure asbestos safety on Crescent Head foreshore

Authorities have acted swiftly in a coordinated response to remove exposed fragments of asbestos that were identified last week.

Recent high pedestrian traffic combined with recent winds and rain have exposed fragments of asbestos in the ground surrounding the Crescent Head Surf Club. The fragments are believed to have come from the demolition of the old surf club and amenities block.

Kempsey Shire Council’s General Manager, Craig Milburn said Council has worked with the EPA to respond quickly, carrying out an inspection of the area.

“Following an inspection on Wednesday 6 January, Council commissioned a licenced asbestos assessor for the removal of exposed fragments and to provide more detailed advice on management options,” he said.

“As a precaution, due to the high number of people in the area, it was recommended that Council undertake daily site inspections, remove any further exposed fragments and cover key areas around the Surf Club with additional soil and synthetic turf. This work will be carried out over the next two weeks.”

Details from specialist hygienist reports indicate that asbestos containing materials such as fibre cement fragments are believed to have been contained in the fill material used around the surf club and breakwall sites. This kind of fill, containing construction waste material is commonly found in coastal areas where historically land was reclaimed near breakwalls.

Council has had an approved management plan in place for the site since late 2019. This involves regular inspections and manual removal of fragments.

Mr Milburn said the weather impacts and increased visitor numbers to the area have disturbed the site in recent weeks and necessitated additional safety precautions.

“We will continue to work with the EPA, Work Safe NSW, the Crescent Head Holiday Park and other local businesses to put ground coverage material in place as quickly as possible. We ask the community and visitors to be patient while these essential works are being carried out.”

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