Asbestos-contaminated mulch has been found at another Sydney park, forcing its closure, after more of the hazardous material was found in transport projects earlier this week.
A part of Regatta Park in Emu Plains, in the city’s west, was closed on Thursday after Penrith City Council undertook a review of its mulch suppliers.
The audit was undertaken to determine if the council’s mulch suppliers were the same as those of Transport for NSW.
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It followed the discovery of asbestos at transport sites, including the recently opened Rozelle Parklands and some Metro construction sites.
On Thursday, the review found the principal contractor for Regatta Park received mulch from the same supplier.
The mulch had been used in two areas of the park — a closed area still under construction and a recently opened section of the river walk.
A view of Regatta Park in Emu Plains. Credit: Penrith City Council/ Facebook
The publicly accessible section was fenced off on Thursday evening, the council said, and a detour put in place. The SMH reported Friday that two sites had tested positive.
“Council officers are working with the principal contractor for Regatta Park on the actions required for identifying, testing and removing the mulch,” Penrith City Council said.
“NSW Health advice is that bonded asbestos is of very low risk.”
The find in Emu Plains comes as the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) continues its probe into the discovery of bonded asbestos at Rozelle Parklands.
“This is a complex investigation involving multiple lines of inquiry, including the mulch supply chain and the potential presence of legacy asbestos at these sites,” the EPA said earlier this week.
“At this point in time, we cannot rule in or out any potential source for this contamination.”
The EPA issued a clean-up notice to Transport for NSW for the removal of mulch in the Rozelle Parklands.
It also halted the Parklands’ mulch supplier, Greenlife Resource Recovery, from further distributing its product.
EPA acting chief executive Nancy Chang said the mulch could not be supplied to anyone unless and until the EPA concluded it was safe.
Chang was unwilling to rule in or out any potential source of the contamination while all possibilities were being probed.
Those included the bonded asbestos entering the mulch after being distributed by Greenlife or being on site before the mulch was laid.
Signs and barricades are placed around Rozelle Parklands for it’s closure after asbestos was found. Credit: Bianca De Marchi/AAP
Many of the sites where asbestos had been found had a history of asbestos contamination, the authority said.
Parts of Rozelle Parklands have been closed to the public since January 10, when testing confirmed the presence of asbestos.
The parklands may remain closed until April, with work to remove and then replace 10 tonnes of mulch to take months.
Greenlife this week firmly rejected any blame, saying independent expert tests of its mulch had shown unequivocally there was no asbestos present.
“We are of course extremely concerned that members of the public, including children, have been exposed to asbestos at the Rozelle Interchange and Parklands,” the company said on Wednesday.
“But, as detailed, we categorically refute this contamination was from our delivered mulch.”
On Wednesday, Transport for NSW advised further testing at its sites revealed bonded asbestos was found in mulch at the Prospect Highway project between Prospect and Blacktown and Metro sites at Dulwich Hill, Canterbury and Campsie.
The sites have been fenced off to prevent any public access, and a remediation plan is being developed.
– With AAP