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Byron Shire
May 10, 2021

Byron builder fined $8,000 for dumping asbestos

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A Byron shire builder was recently fined $8,000 for illegally disposing of asbestos at the Myocum waste facility, after an investigation nailed him as the culprit.

The man had also failed to declare he was dumping asbestos when asked by staff at the facility’s weighbridge before offloading.

Disposing of asbestos at the facility is prohibited and locals  are referred to nearby waste facilities.

A Byron Shire Council spokesman said the man had passed two signs before driving onto the centre’s weighbridge, which stated asbestos waste was not accepted there.

Council’s resource recovery and open space manager, Michael Matthews, said staff came across fibro sheeting that they believed contained asbestos.

He said staff acted immediately and safely cleaned up the waste to ensure that there was no risk to the public and staff.

‘Samples of the asbestos waste were taken and test results returned positive for asbestos.

‘Due to weighbridge records, staff were quickly able to identify the person who had dumped the asbestos.

‘The alleged offender was issued on the spot fines totalling $8,000 and a costs recovery order of $594,’ Mr Matthews said.

Council’s legal services coordinator Ralph James said it was an offence to transport and deposit asbestos waste, and to provide false or misleading information regarding the nature of the waste.

‘In this instance, the person failed to declare the asbestos waste when asked by council staff at the weighbridge prior to its disposal.

‘They exposed themselves, the staff on site and potentially the general public to an unacceptable risk,’ Mr James said.

Mr Matthews went on to remind the public that the Household Asbestos Disposal Scheme was still currently available for asbestos disposal kits for householders wanting to remove and dispose of up to 10m2 of bonded asbestos.

The kits include safety gear, plastic and tape for wrapping asbestos for disposal, information for the householder on procedures and requirements for safe removal of asbestos.

The householder kits are available from the Myocum Resource Recovery Centre at a cost of $25.  The kits are partially funded by council.

To dispose of the kits, householders will need to transport the contents to either Tweed or Lismore Waste Facility.

Mr Matthews said that with one in three Australian homes containing asbestos, it was important for householders to be aware of the potential risks associated with asbestos if undertaking renovations.

He said asbestos products were used in a wide range of building products including fibro sheeting, roof shingles and guttering, vinyl floor covering and water drainage and flue pipes.

All houses built before 1987 in Australia potentially contain asbestos products.

Householders wanting to establish whether products in their home contain asbestos, can contact testing laboratories that analyse building materials for asbestos.

The laboratories can also advise on how to correctly take and send a sample for testing.

Mr Matthews said ‘if you have more than ten square metres (equivalent of three sheets of asbestos containing fibro), you are required by law to engage a licensed asbestos removalist’.

Work Cover NSW maintains a list of licensed asbestos removalists on their website.

For further information on the Household Asbestos Kits visit www.newaste.org/asbestos/ or contact council on 6626 7000.

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