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Asbestos testing underway across Melbourne

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The dangerous material was detected at dozens of NSW locations and parts of southeast Qld earlier in the year.
asbestos testing melbourne

Authorities are testing multiple parks across Melbourne after the discovery of asbestos in the city’s southwest and north.

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral found in rocks or soil. Inhaling asbestos particles can cause life-threatening diseases, including cancer.

The dangerous material was detected at dozens of NSW locations and parts of southeast Qld earlier in the year.

It has now been identified in garden mulch and soil across separate council areas of Melbourne. Investigations are continuing to determine where the asbestos came from.

Melbourne parks

Asbestos was discovered at two sites in southwest Melbourne earlier this month.

It prompted the state’s Environment Protection Authority (EPA) to test for the substance at seven other Melbourne parks over the weekend.

Most tests were conducted in the Hobsons Bay City Council area, with results expected late Tuesday afternoon. Suspected asbestos fragments were found at some of these parks during testing.

Asbestos testing sites in Melbourne

Five sites in Melbourne – PJ Lynch, GJ Hosken and Crofts Reserve in Altona North, PA Burns Reserve in Altona, and Donald McLean Reserve in Spotswood – have already tested positive for asbestos.

It’s believed the Spotswood asbestos came from the illegal dumping of construction and demolition waste.

Asbestos contamination has also been found in soil in the city’s north, at Hosken Reserve in North Coburg. It’s believed to have come from historic buried material not linked to garden mulch.

Details

There are two types of asbestos. So far, the only material detected is the less-dangerous ‘bonded’ asbestos, considered low-risk for those who come into contact with it.

Following the discoveries, the EPA has asked every Victorian council to provide details about their garden mulch suppliers.

They have also urged demolition companies to maintain their environmental compliance obligations when dealing with asbestos.

The EPA has also used special powers to require Hobsons Bay City Council to begin proactive inspections of sites that may contain asbestos.

It’s also been asked to gauge the safety harms and risks caused by asbestos in its parks.

The EPA will review the council’s management of mulch, including how it’s sourced, and any checks used to ensure its safety and quality.

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