Asbestos contaminated mulch removed from garden

FROM behind closed doors and windows, a North Bundaberg couple watched as the garden they'd just finished fixing after floodwaters destroyed it for the second time, was once again ripped apart.

Andrew Jacenko and his wife Gail could only look on yesterday as a of team asbestos removal contractors gathered bag after bag of contaminated mulch from the garden beds around their yard.

Mr Jacenko said he first alerted council that the six trailers loads of mulch he bought from the Bundaberg Regional Council operated University Dr tip about three weeks ago might contain asbestos.

"It was full of iron and steel," he said.

"As I spread the fines over my grass I notice some pieces which looked like asbestos, I've renovated houses before so I knew what it looked like.

"I took samples when I went back to the tip."

Mr Jacenko said the council contacted him by phone when the test results were confirmed and offered to have the mulch and lawn removed and replaced.

"Our main concern is for our grandkids and what could happen in 20 years from now," he said.

"We pick them up every afternoon and they run around and played outside on the lawn.

"It's a low risk but we've put them on a register to say they've been exposed to asbestos so their doctors will be aware."

While the incident has left Mr Jacenko feeling disappointed, he said he would use the mulch from the tip again and was pleased to know the council was taking measures to monitor what was now being dumped and encouraged anyone who was concerned to contact council to have their mulch tested.

The council's waste and recycling spokesman Vince Habermann said council had only undertaken removal of mulch from one garden so far.

"We have been proactively contacting residents who purchased mulch during the period where contamination may have occurred," he said.

"We are pleased with the co-operation we have received from the residents we have contacted who are understandably concerned and are working with us to see the situation resolved."

Mr Habermann said the council would send a qualified professional to the properties to test samples of the mulch.

"Depending on the outcome of that test, council will be able to either reassure residents that their mulch is safe or assist them in safely removing it from their property.

"Anyone concerned that they may have purchased mulch during the possible contamination period should contact council on 1300883699."

"While a review process is still in progress and mulch sales remain on hold, one thing council has already identified is the need to obtain a name and contact method for any future mulch sales."

Topics:  asbestos mulch north bundaberg

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