Serious concerns raised about asbestos contamination in a dilapidated house in Audley Street seem likely to soon be addressed – nine months after the house was burnt down and amid a neighbours fears of asbestos contamination of the site.
Number 37 Audley Street was destroyed in a fire last July and neighbours have since expressed grave fears about the site and the state of the building.
“It’s quite damaged. It’s constantly falling apart. But the thing that concerns me most is that it contains asbestos,” said Mandy Light, who lives with her family in close proximity to the burnt out former residence.
“I feel like no-one’s done anything to control it. I’ve got four children and we’ve constantly got dust blowing into our yard, onto our verandah and into our house.
“I don’t know if it’s dangerous or not, but I’m really concerned for our health, as well as that of everyone else around us.”
The property has security fencing installed and according to Ms Light the burnt out house had been treated once to her knowledge.
But according to EPA regulations, unbound asbestos must be either continually dampened to prevent runoff, or hosed down regularly with a solution of water and PVA (wood glue) to prevent airborne particles.
“The house is just constantly falling down, so the asbestos is breaking, it’s being stirred up. Most people today know about asbestos, so we all know to treat it carefully.
“I know there’s no control over the fact that the house burnt down, but authorities or owners do have control over maintaining and cleaning up the site.
“And I know for a fact that you’re meant to come in and spray it because it keeps the asbestos contained,” she said.
Mrs Light said she had been told by an unidentified man who looked at the property that it was to be demolished.
“I don’t know who he was exactly. He just came in and had a look at the property and said to me, it’s going to come down in a couple of weeks. I was really relieved.
“That was in November last year and nothing came of it,” she said.
According to the website of the EPA, either it or the local council can issue clean-up notices and prevention notices which require landowners and/or polluters to address pollution incidents.
On the advice of a Narrandera Shire Council staff member, Ms Light contacted the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) and voiced her concerns.
“The EPA said I had to talk to the Council as they were the ones who had to deal with this.
“I told them I had talked to the Council and the EPA’s response was ‘you’ll have to talk to them again’. I just feel like I’m not being listened to,” Mrs Light said.
According to the EPA, clean-up of asbestos ultimately comes down to the owner of the property but the local government council has the authority to make the owners clean it up.
When contacted by the Narrandera Argus the Council on Tuesday the Council issued the following statement: “Council issued complying development consent for demolition of the fire damaged house at 37 Audley Street in early March.
“An asbestos removal plan was supplied as a part of the application.
“A standard condition of consent for demolitions is protection of adjoining areas. The applicant plans to complete the demolition project during April.”