26 September 2023

Action acting against asbestos at Acton

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The National Capital Authority (NCA) has fenced off a portion of the city’s Acton Peninsula as a precautionary public safety measure against asbestos.

Announcing the closure, the NCA said it was alerted to suspected asbestos surfacing on a walking track that runs next to West Basin on the way round the National Museum of Australia on Acton Peninsula.

“The NCA immediately engaged an expert who conducted visual inspection, soil sampling and lab analysis,” the Authority said.

“The results came back positive for asbestos within surface soils, but negative for asbestos in the atmosphere, meaning it is not airborne and air quality is safe,” it said.

“Air monitoring will continue and the NCA is extending the inspections and surveys to the whole Peninsula.”

The NCA said it did not know the origins of the asbestos, or the length of time it had been present along the walking track.

It said it conducted regular hazardous materials assessment on national land and the most recent survey, in late 2019, yielded negative results for all areas tested – including the Acton Peninsula walking track.

“While inconclusive, it is believed the massive rains of the recent months may have contributed to soil erosion on the grounds, thereby bringing to the surface asbestos along the path that could have been buried for some time,” the NCA said.

“No asbestos-containing material, including soil, can be considered safe and the risk increases when fragments are exposed to weather, crushing, compacting and abrasive disturbances to the surfaces through use by pedestrians and cyclists.”

The Authority said the fence would only be removed once asbestos specialists and assessors confirmed that the walking track was safe from exposure risks.

It said people could still use the footpath on Lawson Street to reach the Museum.

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