The UFU were satisfied with the actions undertaken by CFA and indicted that they were happy with the facility re-opening today.
In Media Update 3 (29 June), CFA reported that a small number of asbestos cement fragments had again been found in a garden bed (and beside a garden bed) at CFA’s Bangholme training ground in an area that had previously been treated and cleared by an Independent expert.
Previous remedial work - including removing the cement debris and other cleaning – had been completed at the garden beds in May and results of air testing during this process were below the detection level.
Independent experts confirmed that the newly discovered fragments were asbestos, WorkSafe visited the site and removalists were on-site the next day.
While the latest discovery posed a very low health risk, Bangholme was closed immediately and CFA worked with the UFU to address any concerns and ensure all agreed safety measures were fulfilled in full.
Following the original discovery of small fragments of asbestos cement debris in soil at Bangholme in late April - detailed publicly by CFA in early May – Independent tests confirmed the presence of asbestos and that the contamination is ‘low level’ and did not present a significant health risk.
Independent testing of CFA vehicles that had visited the ground since June 2010 (when the soil arrived) returned ‘negative’ to contamination and a second round of testing of five more vehicles was held later as a precaution and also returned ‘negative’.
The pumper based at Bangholme was also tested and returned ‘negative’ and all vehicles based at Bangholme were professionally treated as a precaution.
Previous testing of air quality at Bangholme, testing of CFA clothing and testing on the Bangholme grounds - other than the two locations that had been identified - also returned ‘negative’ to asbestos.
As an added precaution, CFA called in a second independent expert to test Bangholme and review CFA’s decontamination plans. That expert found that there would have been no risk of asbestos exposure to occupants and users of the training campus from the presence of asbestos cement debris and that the potential for contamination of vehicles, equipment and personal clothing/equipment is considered negligible.
Background: CFA informed media of the original contamination on Tuesday (3rd May) after first contacting Bangholme staff and other CFA Members, including the parents of junior CFA volunteers who had performed beautification work in the area. All people were reassured about the low level of risk and have been provided any support necessary (including information sessions).
CFA was first alerted by a staff member to possible asbestos fragments (spotted in a garden bed) on Thursday (28th April). CFA management took a proper and cautious approach and the area was cordoned off and tests were carried out. Those tests confirmed the presence of asbestos cement debris.
Further testing later found asbestos cement debris in the soil at a second site (the driving range which was being constructed). No other areas of the grounds had contamination and CFA will look into how this soil came to be at Bangholme.
Remedial work - including removing the cement debris and other cleaning - was completed at the garden beds and results for air testing during this process were below the detection level.
Independent experts gave the Bangholme facility the all-clear to re-open late May. Remedial work is planned for the driving range but this will not pose a health risk.
CFA informed WorkSafe Victoria, the Environment Protection Authority and other interested parties.
For more information contact:
Or visit www.cfa.vic.gov.au