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ASBESTOS contamination of properties in an exclusive South West Rocks St last week has left one homeowner with a big bill for the clean-up and neighbours out of pocket and upset.
The contamination occurred last week after a contractor with a high-pressure water cleaner began washing down the asbestos roof of a house in Seaview St.
Neighbours quickly became concerned when water mixed with asbestos began to rain down on their properties.
One neighbour, who does not wish to be named, was aware the roof was made of asbestos and contacted Kempsey Shire Council to voice his alarm.
“I was told by the person I spoke to that the council only had jurisdiction over the work if it was the owner actually doing it,” the neighbour said.
“If it was a contractor then it was a problem for WorkCover. So I contacted the WorkCover office in Port Macquarie. They were very concerned and sent someone straight up to see what was going on.
“The man doing the pressure washing had left by then but WorkCover took control of the situation and ordered a clean-up.”
WorkCover engaged a professional asbestos decontamination service to undertake the clean-up, which, the agency told South West Rocks News, is almost complete.
Meanwhile an investigation into the incident is continuing.
“WorkCover directed the property owner to engage an occupational hygienist and licensed asbestos removalist to safely remove asbestos from the property and issue a clearance certificate declaring the site safe,” the spokesman said, referring to the decontamination operation.
“WorkCover is also providing advice to the owners of neighbouring properties.”
Meanwhile the owners of one of the adjoining properties, a holiday rental, say they have had to cancel more than $5000 worth of school holiday bookings.
Further information on asbestos in homes and how to manage it before undertaking renovations or maintenance can be found at www.asbestosawareness.com.au
A Kempsey Shire Council spokesman said the council was dealing with the matter under the Protection of the Environoment Operations Act but did not wish to comment further.
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