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Illegal Dumping in Bruce – Asbestos Cover-Up?

By PM 11 November 2008 44

[First filed: 6 November 2008]

Some Rioters may have come across this dumping ground in Bruce near the stadium and some of the newer residences in the suburb:

The dump has been there for some time. When I first noticed the dump, there was merely a sign or two saying words to the effect of “no dumping”. The sign wasn’t authorised by any government office. It looked quite amateurish. Sorry I don’t have a photo of it, but hopefully some readers may have seen it.

A few weeks ago, I noticed more signs with a wire seemingly designed to prevent access to the site.

“Good,” thought I. “Somebody is actually making it difficult to illegally dump on the site rather than just placing a couple of useless signs around.” Well, that wasn’t the case. On closer inspection, the new signs were, well, different.

A work site, eh? Hmm. Still no authorisation on the signs. There was no building activity (and there still isn’t after a few weeks). I couldn’t find anything about the “work site” on the Planning website, but I’m happy to be corrected.

So what did I do? I did some digging. I’m informed that the ACT government (at least at some level – not necessarily any Minister) has been informed that the dump site probably contains asbestos. Don’t get me wrong – I have not been told that asbestos is certainly on the site, but I have been told confidentially that the site is being treated as if it has asbestos, and some samples appear to back that up.

Naturally, I have some questions for the government and for any readers who may be able to shed any light on the subject:

    1. How long does it normally take the government to remove illegally dumped waste from a semi-residential area?
    2. Is the government responsible for the signs and, if so, why was/is there no authorisation on them?
    3. Is the site a work site? If so, what’s the hold up and, if not, what is it going to be?
    4. Did the government erect the wire barrier, and why?
    5. Is the government aware of the allegation/possibility that asbestos is included in the illegally dumped material and, if so, why is it accessible to the public?
    6. If the government knows or believes asbestos is on the site, what is being done to fix it, and is the response in line with best-practice guidelines?

So Rioters, if you have any info that could help me out, post away! Thanks.

UPDATED: The Canberra Times has come to the party:

    New Territory and Municipal Services Minister Jon Stanhope said yesterday the discovery of asbestos since then had caused the delay.

    ”During the clean-up process, ACT Government staff identified asbestos sheeting on the site,” he said.

    ”The clean-up of the site has been delayed while the asbestos is properly removed according to removal guidelines.

    ”I have been advised that the asbestos is contained, fenced off and does not pose a risk to the community. The site will be cleaned up as soon as possible.”

Anyone else think it’s adequately contained? And is hazmat policy these days to not document the hazard?

(Slideshow below)

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Illegal Dumping in Bruce – Asbestos Cover-Up?
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RuffnReady 11:28 pm 17 Nov 08

“the asbestos is contained” – you’ve got to be kidding. Anyone can get at anything they like on that dump.

It’s been very windy lately, and plenty of dust has been whipping up off that site. Someone should go and take some close-up photos now for posterity – when there’s a mesothelioma cluster amongst people who live in Bruce, or at the Institute of Sport (or people like me who regularly ride their bike down that road), they could become rather useful.

Skidbladnir 4:30 pm 12 Nov 08
johnboy 3:51 pm 12 Nov 08

So ken, did the earlier CT story mention asbestos?

Because IMHO an eyesore and a cause of mesothelioma are rather different things.

poptop 2:02 pm 12 Nov 08

Hi Ken =-) The Crimes so rarely follows up on any of its stories.

What or who do you think made Ms Doherty follow up on the 28 August story? Asbestos Elves?

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