Action plan for asbestos containing material underway at Wamberal

Date

Thursday, 16 August 2018

Release

Central Coast Council has a Risk Management Plan (Plan) in place as well as trained staff working with experts to remove asbestos containing material at Wamberal and Terrigal beaches.

The Plan, developed by expert consultants following a number of site inspections and analysis of sample material collected has identified the risk to human health is low. Consultants have recommended continued and further monitoring by staff. Closure of or restricting access to the beach has not been recommended. 

Council will continue with daily inspections by trained staff and the beaches remain open to the public.  Staff undertaking the inspections are using appropriate protective equipment and collection techniques to match the low level risk presented by the material. 

Council Unit Manager of Natural and Environmental Assets, Luke Sulkowski, said Council understands and acknowledges community concern about asbestos containing material.

“I want to assure the community Council is prioritising the removal of material at the beaches,” Mr Sulkowski said. 

“Trained Council staff are inspecting the beach daily and removing all the potential asbestos containing material they find.

“The risk to public health is considered low due to the size and nature of the material and that it is bonded in sheet form.

“Asbestos is dangerous only when broken up and fibres are released into the air.

“It is not necessary at this time to close the beach as the material is being removed daily or as it is reported to Council.

“Council is following best industry practice and undertaking what is called an ‘emu pick’ on the surface of the sand as the material is mostly being washed up when there are high tides.

“To dig up the entire beach would be impractical and would require the closure of the beach for several months and not necessarily deal with the concerns.

“Although the Plan has identified the risk to human health is low, Council will continue to be vigilant and undertake further monitoring and assessment of the situation including deploying air quality monitoring equipment.

“We encourage the public to exercise caution. If you come across unknown material at the beach please contact us or the Environment Protection Authority so it can be removed.

“We really don’t know exactly where the material is coming from at this stage but we believe that it is being washed onto the beach from offshore during high tides. 

“It is unfortunate that with situations like this Council and the community are left to manage the legacy left by this material and its prevalent and ill-informed use in the past.

“Council will continue to work with experts and government agencies to address the matter.”

More information on asbestos containing material including Council’s Asbestos Management Policy can be found at centralcoast.nsw.gov.au

 

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Last updated : Tue 28 Aug 2018