Council ramps up beach asbestos inspections

Date

Tuesday, 8 September 2020

Release

Central Coast Council has ramped up its inspections of Wamberal beach with material fragments that potentially contain asbestos significantly increasing since the recent storms.

Council has retrieved more material fragments from Wamberal Beach in the past month than all of 2019, leading to daily inspections of the beach.

Council’s Manager of Environmental Management, Luke Sulkowski said Council would inspect the beach daily to improve chances of removing all fragments that may deposit on the beach.

“In 2019 our beach inspection team removed just over 400 fragments that may contain asbestos from Wamberal Beach. In August alone we collected over 720 fragments, taking the 2020 total to more than 900,” Mr Sulkowski said.

“As a result, we have increased our beach inspections from 2-3 per week to daily to ensure we can collect as much as possible.

“I want to assure the community 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.”

Council’s inspections follow industry best practice, undertaking what is called an ‘emu pick’ on the surface of the sand. Council is also conducting regular inspections on nearby Terrigal Beach.

Mayor Lisa Matthews said it was important that the community stayed away from debris on the beach.

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

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

“The identified risk to human health is low, however Council will continue to be vigilant to ensure the materials are removed quickly.

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

“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.”

Suspected asbestos containing materials should be referred to Council on 1300 463 954 or the EPA Pollution line on 131 555.

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Last updated : Tue 8 Sep 2020