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Asbestos

Excelsior Reserve project update

Excelsior Reserve Project update December 2020

Why are parts of Excelsior Reserve closed?

In August 2020, City of Parramatta engaged specialist consultants to undertake soil testing within the Excelsior Reserve, North Rocks. Asbestos containing materials were discovered below the surface of the reserve.

While air-monitoring undertaken during the investigations showed there was no immediate risk to the public, taking precautionary action Council closed the site to prevent soil disturbance and ensure the site remained safe.

In November 2020, consultants were engaged to conduct further soil testing and provide specialist advice to Council.

While there was no detection of airborne fibres during soil testing Council is taking specialist advice for interim and long-term remediation. Council is also consulting with NSW WorkSafe and NSW Environmental Protection Agency and will undertake regular inspections and implement air fibre monitoring around the embankment, to ensure that the area remains safe.

Test results

Laboratory analysis of the samples collected during testing found that asbestos containing materials, including fibro and friable asbestos (the waste by-product of manufacturing) were present within the top 100mm of the soil and exceeded the acceptable limits for open space and parks.

Friable asbestos material found in the bushland consisted of loose fibres of asbestos containing material/product that could be reduced to a powder if crumbled or crushed by hand.

How will these sites be managed?

NSW Health advises that asbestos presents a risk when fibres become airborne and can be inhaled.

While there was no detection of airborne fibres during soil testing Council is taking specialist advice for interim and long-term remediation. Council is also consulting with NSW WorkSafe and NSW Environmental Protection Agency.

Council staff and consultants will undertake regular inspections and implement air fibre monitoring around the embankment, to ensure that the area remains safe. 

An environmental management plan will be prepared for managing the asbestos contamination on site. The plan will detail how workplace health and safety measures will be implemented on site.

What are the next steps?

Parts of Excelsior Reserve will remain closed. The City of Parramatta will take immediate action to improve site safety while planning for long-term remediation begins.

Council will implement additional measures to improve site security including the installation of 2.1m high chain-wire fencing and signage which complies with NSW WorkSafe requirements.

A geofabric layer to cover the site will be installed on the Service Trail and embankment to prevent the exposure of potentially contaminated material. Sediment fencing to contain soil disturbance will be installed within the bushland area.

A remediation plan for the embankment, Service Trail and bushland will be created. 

Council will continue to provide updates on the progress of these actions on its website.

Who can I contact for more information?

For information about the test results and ongoing work, please contact Council’s Excelsior Reserve project team on 1300 617 058, or by email at openspace@cityofparramatta.nsw.gov.au

If you have accessibility concerns, please contact the National Relay Service at relayservice.gov.au and provide them with the City of Parramatta contact number: (02) 9806 5050.

For general enquiries about asbestos, please contact the state asbestos hotline on 1800 272 378.