WORK to remove illegally dumped asbestos has started at the Highlands Golf Course.
Three and a half thousand cubic metres of contaminated material, containing bonded and fibrous asbestos on the golf course, will be removed, screened and tested over the next couple of months.
Soil mixed with asbestos contaminated materials were illegally dumped on the council-owned land in 2007 by an outsourced contractor that has not yet been identified.
Wingecarribee council were issued a clean-up notice by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) in July last year. Council requested a six month extension on the EPA deadline, which was originally set for September 13.
Enviro Pacific and Services asbestos project manager, Nat Stevens said the work must be completed by mid-March and would be conducted in two components.
"The first stage will be the friable component, where the materials will be sent to an EPA licensed facility for testing," he said.
"The second stage will be the asbestos fragments, which will be removed from the soil and samples will be taken to a National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) lab for screening and testing and to be potentially reused."
Three Enivro Pacific workers will be working on site and three machines will be used to lift the materials from the ground.
"We have two nominated stock piles. We will layout the soil finely and remove the fragments that we find. Upon further inspection the contaminated material will go to landfill," Mr Stevens said.
"If not contaminated the materials will stay on site for possible re-use.
"The current set up is approved by Work Cover and air monitoring devices have been installed, which will be checked daily."
Wingecarribee Council project manager, Michelle Green said there would be no holes out of play for the duration of the removal.
"Anything with asbestos has a high risk, but the risk is minimal because it has grown over with vegetation that has encapsulated it," she said.
"Workers will keep the soil damp, which acts as a bond keeping the material together and reducing the risk so that it is not released into the atmosphere."
Mrs Green said cost of the works was around the $200,000 mark, but a final figure had not yet been reached. Further investigations are underway to identify the contractor who dumped the material in 2007.