Thursday, May 30, 2024

EPA calls on councils to clean up quality controls for mulch

EPA Victoria is writing to the state’s councils to ask them to assess quality controls for landscaping works and supply contracts for garden mulch, as its investigations into the source of asbestos-contaminated park mulch continues.

The EPA yesterday issued Hobsons Bay City Council with two remedial notices, ordering proactive inspections of more parks and gardens in its area as well as requiring further information from the Council.

“EPA requires Hobsons Bay City Council to investigate the nature and extent of any harm or risk of harm to human health arising from asbestos in reserves or land areas managed by the council,” the Authority said in a statement today.

“Under the conditions the notices, Hobsons Bay City Council must commission a hygienist to inspect all council managed parks and gardens that have received mulch in the past 18 months.”

It says work should start today and must be completed by 10 May. The Council will need to keep EPA updated daily of its inspections.

“EPA will also review the council’s procedures regarding the sourcing of mulch, safety and quality checks, replacement and maintenance.”

The Authority has requested all reports dating back to July 2021, from council, its staff, contractors and the general public in regard to asbestos containing materials found in mulch at or around Hobsons Bay City Council infrastructure.

Hobsons Bay City Council must also provide EPA with a list of all suppliers used to source mulch by the council, its contractors and sub-contractors from the same time period. The Council has until April 22 to comply with the notices.

Meanwhile, at the weekend EPA officers completed inspections for asbestos at seven parks across two metropolitan councils.

The inspections were conducted in parks in Hobsons Bay City Council and Merri-bek Council areas, following reports of potential asbestos. Results of testing are expected tomorrow.

The Authority is also writing to demolition companies to remind them of their environmental compliance obligations in relation to asbestos management during demolition works.

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