More than 100 tonnes of asbestos contaminated material has been found at 11 more properties across Wollongong and Shellharbour, supplied by Kembla Grange business Wollongong Recycling, the Environment Protection Authority said.
The properties, from Oak Flats and Yallah in the south, to Thirroul and Austinmer in the north, included many house blocks.
One site was a car storage yard near a kids’ play centre at Albion Park Rail.
The EPA has ordered Wollongong Recycling, which is owned by Sydney waste giant Bingo, to clean up the material and surrounding soil. The quantities range from four to more than 30 tonnes.
They were identified during inspections in December and January, with the asbestos confirmed by laboratory testing, the EPA said.
The EPA told the Mercury it had been working with landowners to “determine the timeframes and clean-up action required”.
There is no suggestion property owners were aware that the aggregate, which was recovered and supplied for development by Wollongong Recycling, was contaminated with asbestos.
“Given that the recovered aggregate has been crushed and processed, the EPA reasonably suspects that there is an increased risk of asbestos fibres being released into the air which may cause harm to human health if inhaled,” the EPA said in several of the clean-up notices.
This brings to 23 the number of properties over which the EPA taken action against Wollongong Recycling for supplying asbestos contaminated material between June and August last year.
The worst case was 3,300 tonnes of asbestos contaminated aggregate which it supplied to Lendlease’s Calderwood development near Albion Park. The EPA has been “reviewing” the clean-up work there.
All up about 7,500 tonnes of material supplied by Wollongong Recycling to sites around the region has been investigated by the EPA.
The EPA has not fined or prosecuted Wollongong Recycling, but has issued legally enforceable clean-up notices. The agency said its investigation was still in progress.
“Whilst the clean-up and removal of the asbestos has been the priority, the circumstances that resulted in the asbestos waste being delivered to the different properties is subject to an ongoing EPA investigation,” an EPA spokeswoman said.
For more details, the public can search the EPA’s register of clean-up notices via the website here.
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