Clean-up begins after topsoil contaminated with asbestos used at Mernda development site

December 17, 2013 at 12:08 PM

The soil was brought to the Stockland development as fill to level out the site near the intersection of Masons and Pearson roads, with the contamination first suspected on Friday, November 29.

Stockland spokesman Greg Spears said the site was isolated and tests confirmed the presence of asbestos on Wednesday, December 4.

Certified contractors were hired to remove and dispose of the hazardous material and conduct a thorough site inspection after the clean-up.

Mr Spears said nearby residents were advised of the issue on Monday, December 9, the day before the clean-up began.

"The material was used as topsoil to cover an area that is approximately 100 metres long and 30 metres wide and 100 millimetres deep," Mr Spears said.

"All of the asbestos-containing material will be carefully and safely removed from site over the next four to five days, and will be replaced by new, clean topsoil.

"All necessary precautions are being taken to ensure the safe and expedient removal of the material and the site has been fenced off to prevent public access.

"The recent rain has acted as a natural suppressant to prevent the release of any airborne particles, a water truck with sprinkler system is on site, and air quality is being constantly monitored.

"The health and safety of our residents, contractors and staff is our highest priority and Stockland will take all necessary safety measures to rectify the situation."

Alarmed residents phoned the Leader yesterday to report they could see men in full-bodied protective suits and masks inspecting the area.

Yellow tape and warning signs enclose the contaminated area.

WorkSafe and the Environmental Protection Authority are involved.

For information about the dangers of asbestos and how it should be handled, go to

By Cheryl Balfour

Herald Sun/Leader