Asbestos confirmed at fifth school as sites grow

Penalties for environmental crimes in NSW will double in the wake of Sydney's asbestos saga.

Penalties for environmental crimes in NSW will double in the wake of Sydney's asbestos saga. Photo: AAP

Asbestos has been confirmed at more sites across Sydney as three schools wait on results.

Domremy College at Five Dock in Sydney’s inner west became the fifth school to confirm asbestos following a number of sites being tested after asbestos was found in mulch at Liverpool West Public School earlier in February.

The college remains open on Monday with the contaminated site isolated and cordoned off.

Results are still to be confirmed at three southwest Sydney schools: Edmondson Park Public School, Mount Annan Christian College at Currans Hill and Trinity Catholic Primary School at Kemps Creek.

“We understand this may be unsettling for these school communities but these results are expected later today,” NSW Environment Protection Agency (EPA) said in a statement on Monday.

In western Sydney, St Luke’s Catholic College at Marsden Park has decided to close this week, while Penrith Christian School at Orchard Hills remains open with the contaminated site fenced off after asbestos discoveries at the two schools were confirmed on Sunday.

Liverpool West remains closed with students offered in-person learning at nearby Gulyangarri Public School, where Education Department secretary Murat Dizdar plans to visit on Monday.

An Aldi supermarket at Cobbitty southwest of Sydney will reopen once a contaminated site there has been contained.

A site at Riverstone Sports Centre and an area of a shared path along the Parramatta Light Rail project at Telopea in Sydney’s northwest are also set to be contained on Monday.

Asbestos has been confirmed at three other sites which the EPA did not reveal for privacy reasons, saying they are not publicly accessible.

More than 40 sites including schools, hospitals and parks have been contaminated with asbestos contained inside recycled mulch.

The EPA is investigating a complicated supply chain as its probes how the mulch became contaminated.

Fire and Rescue NSW crews inspected more than 120 sites identified by the agency on the weekend.

EPA Chief Executive Tony Chappel said on Sunday the investigation would conclude with a full report to the public but cautioned against prematurely attributing blame.

The agency had been required to disclose a notice issued to Greenlife Resource Recovery preventing it supplying more mulch, which it is currently complying with, Chappel said.

The company is challenging the prevention order in court.

Greenlife’s mulch is independently tested by approved laboratories and the company was confident it left its facility free of contamination, it said in a statement on Friday.


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