James Hardie Legacy Sites
Identification of James Hardie Legacy sites within the Parramatta Local Government area
In 2009 and 2010, the then Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (DECCW) released a report identifying approximately 27 sites within the Parramatta area as locations where asbestos waste, produced by James Hardie Industries, may have been disposed.
The report largely suggested that the material present at these sites was remnant fibro sheeting, and that the material would remain low-risk if undisturbed.
In 2016, Council commissioned its own testing at one of the sites identified in the DECCW report. This testing found significant quantities of friable asbestos at shallow depths and altered the understanding of the risk associated with these sites.
As a result of Council’s test findings, the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) initiated a reassessment of the original report. The NSW Government has since funded testing of residential sites suspected to be affected by asbestos and a new report is in development.
Acting proactively, City of Parramatta has commissioned its own testing of Council-owned or managed parks, reserves, and lands identified in the DECCW report.
In 2017, varying quantities and forms of asbestos were found within the soil at test locations, triggering additional testing and a risk-based prioritised works program.
Contact the project team
For more information on James Hardie Legacy sites within the Parramatta Local Government Area please contact Council’s James Hardie Legacy sites project team on 02 9806 5050.
Works planned for 2020 include:
- Experiment Farm - further testing and the design of permanent treatments
- Dan Mahoney Reserve - community consultation regarding remediation and potential upgrades and managing interim treatments including returfing and temporary fencing
- Ponds Creek Reserve North - permanent treatment of affected sections of Ponds Creek Reserve North
- Barton Park - permanent treatment works including landscaping and a new footpath.
- Barton Park / PH Jeffery Reserve – design of landscaping works, including improvements to footpaths and car parking along Gladstone Street
- Experiment Farm – archaeological and heritage studies undertaken to inform design
- Ruse Street Reserve – interim treatment works undertaken on fenced embankment.
Environmental Testing Work
In late 2018, Council contracted environmental testing at Dan Mahoney Reserve, Dundas Park and Doyle Ground. The site of the water playground at Dundas Park was not part of the suspected landfill site and no asbestos was found during the construction of the playground.
Air monitoring was carried out before, during and after testing at all sites and none of the park sites or neighbouring areas recorded airborne asbestos at any point.
At times environmental testing including soil sampling may cause some degree of disruption to facilities or services and concern within the community. However, it is important work that is conducted with the highest degree of health and environmental protection precautions – including air monitoring before, during, and after testing – to ensure public safety.
It is this testing, and the resulting laboratory reports, which allow City of Parramatta to plan for the ongoing safe management of these sites including future maintenance works in our parks and public spaces. Council will enact any precautionary measures including temporary closures where appropriate to ensure the immediate safety of the sites and on receipt of final reports will undertake scoping work to achieve long-term remediation of the site where required.
City of Parramatta will continue to take proactive action to address all identified and potential asbestos-related issues.
Current Status of 2018 Tested Sites
- Dundas Park and parts of Ponds Creek Reserve North, Dundas - Final report received
- Doyle Ground, North Parramatta - Final report received
- Dan Mahoney Reserve, North Parramatta - Final report received
Environmental Testing and Remediation Works
- Barton Park and PH Jeffery Reserve, North Parramatta
Following environmental testing, Council acted on specialist recommendations, closed parts of the site and undertook a $2m+ remediation program. The works included the installation of a geotextile barrier layer and 500mm of clean soil capping. During the 12-month program, additional upgrades included laying new sports-grade turf on the soccer field and extensive landscaping. New footpaths, drainage and irrigation systems were also installed. Areas of the park which had been closed for works re-opened in December 2018.
- Swann Reserve, Parramatta
Council commissioned environmental testing and on receipt of the report closed the site to undertake a $400k+ excavation and remediation program. Works included installation of a geotextile barrier layer and 300mm of clean soil capping across the entire site. Upgrades included the installation of a shared cycle/pedestrian path to connect to the existing cycleway in the area. Swann Reserve was re-opened in 2018.
- Ruse Street Reserve, Harris Park
Council commissioned testing and acted on specialist advice to close the site and undertake remediation to the Reserve and neighbouring nature strips and footpaths. A $450k+ works program included installation of a geotextile barrier layer and 300mm of clean fill across the reserve. Other park upgrades included improved pedestrian access, new fencing and landscaping treatments, and new turf. The reserve was re-opened in 2018.