Stadium plan assessed for health risk

A picture taken of the school after the fire was extinguished.
A picture taken of the school after the fire was extinguished.

Two sites on the peninsula south of the Graham Farmer Freeway, which are owned by the State Government, were the location of a James Hardie asbestos factory from the 1920s until the early 1980s, as well as a Swan Portland cement operation.

The sites are now the future location of the State’s sports precinct, including the new Perth Stadium.

As a result of the operations of the two companies, the sites are contaminated with asbestos waste, cement kiln dust, kiln bricks and hydrocarbons.

The Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) carried out remedial works at the sites during the previous decade to remove soil containing free asbestos fibres, but in 2010 the sites were classified as ‘restricted for remedial use’ with restrictions on the disturbance of soil because asbestos-impacted soil remained below a sealed surface.

The DEC’s 2010 report said a risk assessment indicated that the levels of asbestos present on the sites did not pose an ‘unacceptable risk’ to human health or the environment, but the Department of Health’s Environmental Health Hazards Unit is reviewing the report to determine the public health risk aspects of the Site Management Plan.

According to the Health Department’s primary asbestos guidelines, the human health risk from asbestos-contaminated soil varies considerably depending on the form of the asbestos, its quantity and its exposure situation.

A spokesperson from the Department of Planning said both site works were subject to environmental approval and the proponent of the site would have to implement management plans and undertake monitoring in accordance with Environmental Protection Agency guidelines.