EPA welcomes report on asbestos at Barangaroo site

Date: Mar 14, 2013

A newly published independent review of asbestos management practice at the Barangaroo site in Sydney has been welcomed by the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA).

The report – 'The use of asbestos-contaminated soils on Barangaroo' – was composed by Dr Tim Driscoll, an associate professor in Epidemiology and Occupational Medicine at the University of Sydney, at the EPA's request.

This was after several incidents in which asbestos containing materials were detected at the site, located at the north western edge of Sydney's central business district.

EPA chair and chief executive officer Barry Buffier said the report was clear in its recommendations for the most appropriate way to handle asbestos fibro on the site.

"What today's report has found is that reusing material impacted by asbestos is acceptable if the material is remediated appropriately," said Mr Buffier in a statement issued today (March 14).

"What this means for Barangaroo is that all the material on site must meet soil remediation requirements of less than 0.001 per cent of asbestos contained within the material and with all visible asbestos removed before it can be reused anywhere on the site."

Baulderstone, the design and construction contractor for the Headland Park part of the Barangaroo development, released a statement on February 28 about asbestos found at its site.

The contractor noted that since work had commenced on the Headland Park site in July 2012, asbestos had been found on 13 separate occasions.

"When asbestos material is found, Baulderstone's procedures are to suspend work immediately in the affected area, isolate the area and have qualified personnel collect the material and store it in a sealed bin prior to its removal."

Any areas that contained the potentially harmful material are then certified by a hygienist before workers resume their posts.

In Dr Driscoll's report, a number of recommendations were made. These included the closure of a pedestrian walkway adjacent to the northern zone of the site until all material which might contain asbestos has been remediated or removed from the site.

"The EPA's aim in engaging Dr Driscoll has always been to ensure the safety of workers, residents, businesses and members of the public with regard to works on the Barangaroo site," said Mr Buffier.

Exposure to asbestos dust or fibre can cause asbestosis or other related diseases.

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