SHOALHAVEN City Council is investigating the discovery of illegally dumped and potentially contaminated building waste on one of the region’s popular beaches.
The building waste was found at Warrain Beach at Culburra Beach and appears to have been illegally buried within the sand dunes.
It became visible following a recent spell of dry weather and strong winds.
Council rangers inspected the site and removed all pieces of loose asbestos from the adjacent area.
The remaining building waste has been buried to a depth of 800mm to eliminate the possibility of wind borne particles travelling into residential areas prior to removal.
The area has also been cordoned off to stop any further public access until it can be removed.
But one Culburra Beach resident has questioned council’s response.
The man, who wished to remain anonymous, said he contacted council on two occasions before an inspection was undertaken.
“I contacted council on the Sunday notifying them that they had a problem with a possible asbestos dumping,” he said.
“Nothing was done and I contacted council again the following Friday and it wasn’t until Monday or Tuesday the next week any action was taken.
“That’s pretty serious.
“It’s asbestos and was adjacent to a walkway, I would hate to think how many people used this public walkway to get to the beach over that time, all the while probably unbeknown to them they were walking through this stuff.
“I work in the building industry and if I had left anything like this lying around on any of my jobs I would have had my butt kicked.
“We have to have this sort of stuff properly removed including being wrapped correctly.”
He said it appeared the material looked like 1960-70s type cladding.
Director of Shoalhaven Council’s City Services and Operations Bill Paterson said that while the illegally dumped waste provided no immediate safety risk to the community, the area had been cordoned off to exclude pedestrian access as a further precaution.
“Council is extremely concerned by the discovery of the illegally dumped and potentially contaminated building waste,” he said.
“Initial investigations show that this waste may have been illegally dumped within the Culburra dunes over 10 years ago.
“Council has already engaged the services of a qualified hygienist who has taken away a number of samples for further testing.
“Once these results have been received council will be able to formulate a suitable removal plan with the assistance of an accredited contractor.”
Mr Paterson said council staff would be undertaking an investigation as to who was responsible for the illegal dumping.