Council’s strong message for asbestos dumpers
THE illegal dumping of asbestos is becoming a concerning issue on the North Coast with cases reported this week in the Byron and Lismore Shires.
But what does one do if they suspect a pile of white powdery looking material has been dumped, posing a public risk, in the Ballina Shire?
A Ballina resident, who wishes to remain unnamed, found himself in that predicament when he believed a pile of "broken pieces of fibro, with a portion on the road ground to powder" on Moon Street was asbestos.
He was concerned it was close to a park and the river foreshore walk.
"People should be made aware of what it looks like for future cases and to be careful," he said.
A Ballina Shire spokeswoman said anyone who suspected anything close to resembling an asbestos dumping should notify council immediately.
"Our first notification was from The Northern Star's inquiry," she said.
"A Council Environmental Health Officer immediately responded by visiting the site.
"After inspection it was found the material did not contain asbestos."
She said the penalty infringement notices for the transport or dumping of asbestos waste for up to $8000.00.
Further penalties can apply if prosecution is the chosen option.
She said at this stage council had no plans to develop an asbestos waste collection facility at the Ballina Waste Management Centre.
Waste facilities that currently accept asbestos in the region are managed by Tweed Shire, Richmond Valley and Kyogle councils.
"They require notification prior to disposal," she said.
"For our operations, we generally use Tweed for small loads and South East Queensland landfills for larger loads that require a licensed contractor to remove and transport.
She said council "unfortunately typically receive inquiries about dumped waste material on a weekly basis".
"But not necessarily specific to asbestos," she said.
"We encourage residents to continue to report these."
By law, she said asbestos waste must not be transported and deposited on any private or public land.
"It is also illegal to dispose of asbestos waste in domestic garbage bins or to recycle, reuse, bury or illegally dump asbestos waste," she said.
"If asbestos containing waste is illegally dumped you could be placing yourself, your family and the public at risk."