Asbestos detected in compost at Nu Grow Ipswich

February 28, 2024 10:10 am in by

A small amount of asbestos has been detected in a compost stockpile at a recycling facility in Ipswich.

The Department of Environment, Science and Innovation (DESI) said the mulch came from a site operated by Nu Grow Ipswich Pty Ltd.

It followed a joint targeted inspections by the department and the Asbestos Safety Unit of Workplace Health and Safety Queensland (WHSQ) of twenty-three landfill operations, transfer stations, landscape suppliers, composters, and mulch suppliers across the South-East.

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DESI Executive Director Brad Wirth said that they received results from almost half the sites so far with only one positive result detected at Nu Grow Ipswich, which we’ve taken immediate action to address.

“There will be a full assessment and testing of material on the site and we have undertaken precautionary air quality testing in the area.

“Regardless whether this is a one-off or not, we’ll be continuing our investigation to better understand the likely source and the potential impacts.

“Asbestos presents a very low risk when undisturbed and when preventative measures are taken to prevent its release,” he said.

The Environmental authority is also working closely with the West Moreton Public Health Unit and WHSQ to assess any risks to workers at the facility or the general public.

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They will take immediate action to inform the community if any health risks are identified.

DESI has issued NuGrow with a precautionary emergency direction that:

  • requires NuGrow to immediately take action to prevent any release of asbestos to the air;
    prohibits removing the material from the site unless it is being lawfully disposed or is certified by a qualified professional that it is asbestos free;
  • requires NuGrow to provide information on where material has been taken off site within the last 30 days and how the asbestos may have been bought onto the site; and
  • directs NuGrow to engage an appropriately qualified person with specialist knowledge in asbestos management to carry out an independent assessment of all material on site.

WSHQ has also issued a prohibition notice preventing the distribution of the contaminated materials.

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