Media Release – CONTAMINATED GREEN WASTE MULCH RECALLED

Council has issued the following Media Release following the discovery of some asbestos fragments in some mulch sold from a landfill. My personal view is that this really highlights the need for residents to be careful when disposing of hazardous materials at public facilities. A copy of advice on how to safely dispose of asbestos can be found here: Asbestos Disposal Fact Sheet

CONTAMINATED GREEN WASTE MULCH RECALLED

Bundaberg Regional Council today recalled all green waste mulch sold on August 7, 2014 from the University Drive Landfill.

The recall is as result of tests received on August 18 that detected a small amount of bonded asbestos material in a single load of green waste mulch.

Council’s Waste and Recycling portfolio spokesperson Cr Vince Habermann said the University Drive facility was now closed to mulch sales and would remain closed until all necessary steps to mitigate the situation had been undertaken.

“We believe this is an isolated incident and that the steps taken following the identification of possible contamination to prevent further customers were provided with contaminated green waste mulch,” Cr Habermann said.

“Council is very cognizant of the importance of providing a quality product to residents through its mulching facility.”

He said there were processes in place at all of Council’s waste facilities to ensure the green waste disposal areas were regularly inspected by staff to remove any contaminants and foreign material prior to the shredding of green waste.

“Unfortunately, despite our best practices, observations and checks if someone is hiding material in dumped mulch waste there is a chance that it may escape initial detection.”

Cr Habermann said it was believed that only a small amount of the low risk asbestos material had escaped detection and been introduced into the mulch stockpile.

“Around 70% of Council’s mulch is accessed by one contractor who has not reported any incidence of contamination. The contractor has significant quality control measures in place in handling the material.”

Residents who purchased mulch from the University Drive landfill on or about August 7 should inspect their mulch for any fibro-like pieces about the size of a 50 cent coin or smaller.

An example of the material is shown in the attached photograph.

“If residents find any fibro-like pieces in mulch purchased from the facility they should contact Council’s Waste and Recycling Services immediately to arrange an inspection, testing and if needed removal of the green waste mulch from the property.

“Staff will also be reviewing sale records from August 7 and contacting customers directly where possible.”

He said green waste mulch would not be available from the University Drive Landfill until the current green waste mulch stockpiles had been tested and cleared.

“Council regrets this unfortunate incident and is calling on residents to exercise extreme care when disposing of asbestos and other dangerous materials.

“Anyone delivering material for mulching to Council’s facilities should ensure it is free from possible contaminants.”

Concerned residents can head to http://bundaberg.qld.gov.au/files/Asbestos_Disposal_0.pdf for a Fact Sheet on asbestos or contact Council on 1300 883 699.

ENDS

 

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