Merriwa Park asbestos scare

Area remains off limits while suspect material tested
WARNING: Signs in place.

A SECTION of Merriwa Park has been cordoned off due to an asbestos scare.

Pieces of the suspected deadly material were discovered last week by Rural City of Wangaratta staff on the embankment below Ely Street.

Environment Protection Authority and WorkSafe Victoria investigators were on site by Thursday to assess the situation.

Although the site is in close proximity to a popular area for visitors and a nearby kindergarten there is limited access to the contaminated area.

The EPA confirmed construction and demolition waste that may potentially be contaminated with asbestos had been found at the site.

The extent of the potential contamination is not clear, however EPA has collected samples for analysis.

As a precautionary measure, the Rural City of Wangaratta erected warning signs on Friday and cordoned off the area and will undertake dust management controls to prevent dust generation.

If asbestos is found, EPA will issue remedial notices to the land manager directing they remove the materials and to further investigate the extent of the contamination.

Alan Clark, rural city director of infrastructure services, said he believed the building waste had overflowed from adjoining properties over a number of years and had only come to the surface after subsequent erosion at the embankment.

“It may take a week to get the test results back from the EPA but in the meantime we will be employing a qualified asbestos removal firm to investigate the embankment further,” he said.

Residents and visitors are urged to stay clear of the area and obey warning signs.

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