29 July 2022

NCA to start asbestos remediation works on Acton Peninsula

| Ian Bushnell
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Acton Peninsula

The walking trail along Acton Peninsula. Photo: NCA.

Work will soon start to remediate contaminated areas of Acton Peninsula after the discovery of asbestos earlier this year.

The National Capital Authority fenced off a large part of the peninsula after a member of the community alerted it to suspected asbestos surfacing on a walking track that runs next to West Basin on the way around the National Museum of Australia.

It began monitoring the air and inspected the area, finding seven positive samples adjacent to the path in front of H-Block, adjacent to the extended fence line along the eastern side of the peninsula behind the Medical Superintendents Residence, four sites along the lake’s edge on the western side of the peninsula and adjacent to the bike cage near the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies car park.

The NCA said testing had found no airborne asbestos and the air quality was deemed safe.

It said contractors would now remove the layer of contaminated soil and replace it with clean material.

Once experts certify the areas as safe, the temporary fences will come down.

The works will then follow along the eastern foreshore where the contaminated soil will be capped.

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The NCA said fencing would remain in place to minimise cycle and foot traffic so remediation activities would not be disturbed and rely on expert advice before removing them.

Additional signs will go up around the fenced areas in the coming days to warn the public.

Visitors will also be diverted away from the bush track at West Basin onto paved paths towards the Museum and AIATSIS.

Both institutions will remain open for business.

The NCA said it would continue to conduct air quality tests along the whole peninsula during the remediation process to ensure it remains safe.

In March, the NCA said it did not know where the asbestos came from or how long it had been along the walking track.

“The NCA conducts regular hazardous materials assessment on national land, and the most recent survey in late 2019 yielded negative results for all areas tested, including the Acton Peninsula walking track,” it said.

“While inconclusive, it is believed the massive rains of the recent months may have contributed to soil erosion on the grounds, thereby bringing to the surface asbestos along the path that could have been buried for some time.”

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