An Illawarra company has been ordered to clean up asbestos-contaminated building material delivered to four sites - including Wollongong’s Blue Mile Tramway Project.
The Environment Protection Authority has issued Wollongong Recycling with a clean-up notice for four sites, which also include the Calderwood Valley Estate and a road reserve in Shellharbour.
The EPA notice stated it was aggregate material that was contaminated and that it came from the business’ Kembla Grange property.
“The EPA’s investigation commenced following a complaint that contaminated aggregate from Wollongong Recycling’s Kembla Grange facility was being sold to consumers who assumed they were purchasing clean aggregate for activities like levelling land,” an EPA spokeswoman said.
“Some of the aggregate recipients also contacted the EPA with concerns the material they had received was contaminated.”
The spokeswoman said that failure to comply with the clean-up notice can incur a maximum penalty of $1 million for a corporation and a further $120,000 a day for a continuing offence.
Waste company Bingo Industries bought Wollongong Recycling earlier this year.
"This incident relates to a period shortly after the Kembla Grange facility was acquired,” a Bingo spokesman said.
“Wollongong Recycling has subsequently brought the facility in line with ISO 14001 (environmental standards) including training staff on its systems and processes.”
The spokesman said that it was “the nature of the business that from time to time building and demolition materials received from customers can be contaminated”.
The business has to remove and dispose of the contaminated waste at all sites by October 15 and supply documentation related to the removal by October 27.
“To date Wollongong Recycling has not had access to the sites in question and is not aware of any further contaminated materials at Kembla Grange,” the Bingo spokesman said.
“The material in question was quickly identified and quarantined. The company is working closely with the EPA and steps are being taken, including with the co-operation of all affected parties, to comply with the EPA notice.”
The single truckload of contaminated material delivered to the tramway project was to be used to “top up” an access road, a Wollongong council spokeswoman said.
It was not used before the asbestos was identified and the load removed.
The material delivered to Shellharbour had been used at backfill at a Wattle Road address but has since been removed.