Asbestos continues to wash up on Terrigal Beach

Asbestos found at Terrigal Beach in recent weeks

Fragments of asbestos washing up on local shores continues to be a problem for Central Coast Council, which has urged members of the public to exercise caution if they notice any pieces of the mineral fibre.

Council Unit Manager Environmental Management, Luke Sulkowski, said volumes of the material found on our beaches had decreased significantly in the past two years.

Sulkowski was responding to concerns raised by environmentalist Joy Cooper, who said she had spotted a number of broken pieces of asbestos in recent weeks while walking along both The Haven and Terrigal Beach to the lagoon entry.

“Is the Council still undertaking asbestos collection?” she said.

“I note the signs are no longer there, and there is no place to dispose of the pieces, so I (advised Council as) recommended (and) have not touched them.”

Sulkowski said Council continues to make manual inspections of the beach twice a week.

“We … identify and remove potential fragments that wash up on the foreshores between Wamberal and Terrigal,” he said.

“The amount of material collected at these locations continues to be recorded by Council staff, with the amount of material currently being collected being much less than the volumes that were experienced in mid-2018.

“Despite the less significant impacts being experienced at present, (residents) are advised to please exercise caution at all times and report unknown material to Council or the Environment Protection Authority on 131 555 so it can be removed.

“If you know this material has been dumped, please report this as there are heavy penalties for those who are caught dumping asbestos-containing material.

“The community can be assured that managing this known issue is a key priority of Council and we will continue to be vigilant and will take all necessary precautions and actions in the interests of community safety.

“Previous testing for airborne asbestos particles at this location undertaken by a specialist consultant, when larger quantities of material were presenting on the beach, did not identify the presence of any airborne asbestos fibres.

“The risk to the public is considered low.

“It is unfortunate that Council and the community are being left to manage the ongoing issues of this material being washed up or dumped in our environment.”

Terry Collins