Now that the dust has settled, we can take stock of what the clean up of asbestos at the Resource Recovery Centre (RRC) has cost the community.
At the February 21 meeting of the Finance Committee, a report was presented to councillors on the final remediation costs.
This cost was $2,276,670.
And all for what amounted to roughly a sandwich bag size of asbestos, according to councillor Garry Turland at the February 28 meeting.
These remediation costs are on top of two penalty notices issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) which totalled $23,000.
It is a real shame that council and ratepayers have had to bear this cost.
Asbestos was found at the RRC in recycled crushed aggregate material in July 2016 and its clean up has been an ongoing issue ever since.
Some of the recycled product had been purchased by 24 customers, who were then notified once council became aware of the contamination: 1,147.90 tonnes of potentially contaminated material had to be removed from affected properties.
While it may only have been a very small quantity of asbestos, it is also disappointing it was not detected by staff straight away.
Late last year, council issued a release in which it stated it had “implemented more stringent inspection procedures when accepting building waste at the facility”. One would hope these changes will prevent such an event happening twice.
The RRC now only sells screened wood chips, coarse mulch and fine mulch.
And as councillor Ian Scandrett has said, there are plenty of projects on council’s books that could have been funded by money which instead went into cleaning up the asbestos.
The negligence of one or perhaps a few people has meant the community as a whole misses out.
We all know the health impacts asbestos can have on not only humans but the envrionment.
The incident is certainly a good reminder that residents need to be careful when disposing of rubbish and always follow the correct procedures.
Now that the matter has been finalised, council can hopefully put the matter behind them and focus on the job of doing its best for the residents of this shire.