Discovery of more asbestos delays hospital remediation
Remediation of Mullumbimby Hospital site continues to drag on with Byron Shire Council blaming ongoing asbestos issues for the delay.
According to the council's Manager of Assets and Projects, Phil Warner, the discovery of further deposits of asbestos beyond what was originally thought to be there, is the reason for the setback.
He said the clearing and remediation of the site started in January 2019 and unfortunately it is taking much longer than first anticipated
"This project is taking a lot more time than we thought but when it comes to asbestos we need to be very thorough," Mr Warner said.
"We were doing the final sampling of the soil after the demolition and removal of the hospital buildings and contaminated soil was found beyond the footprint of the building."
Mr Warner said it is vital that all the testing is completed so the community can be satisfied the site has been made safe.
"This resulted in more testing and the contaminated area was covered by geo-fabric and overlaid with soil, so there is no cause for community concern relating to the health impact of the contamination," he said.
"A NSW EPA-accredited site auditor and specialist consultants were engaged to provide recommendations regarding future management and remediation of the site and because of the complexity of the asbestos contamination, their work is still ongoing."
Mr Warner said it's better to be safe than sorry.
"We know the community is keen for things to start happening on the old hospital site but it is important that Council has a clear direction from the auditor and consultants about the way forward," he said.
"We are hoping they will be providing their information in the next several months."