Asbestos found at second Melbourne playground

The Environment Protection Authority is investigating after asbestos was found in Melbourne parks.

The Environment Protection Authority is investigating after asbestos was found in Melbourne parks. Photo: AAP

Asbestos-ridden soil has been discovered at a second Melbourne playground, days after a similar discovery was made in the city’s west.

The incident has unfolded at Hosken Reserve in Coburg North, north of the CBD, as the park is undergoing upgrades.

A Merri-bek Council spokeswoman confirmed on Friday morning that asbestos had first been found at the site in late January before the latest find.

“During more recent landscaping works, further asbestos-contaminated soil was discovered,” she said.

“This contaminated soil is now being removed by competent and qualified asbestos removalists and is expected to be completed by Friday, May 31.

“Any soil that contains asbestos is also currently sealed, under cover and is inaccessible to the public.”

The reserve has been closed to the public since January due to the upgrades.

The council said all asbestos found on site is considered non-friable which is solid and cannot be crumbled or released into the air.

The discovery comes after two fragments found among mulch near a playground in Melbourne’s west were confirmed to be asbestos on Wednesday.

Jason Murphy reported the items found at Donald McLean Reserve in Spotswood, west of the CBD.

The Yarraville father of two was visiting the park on Monday with his children when he made the discovery.

“I was sitting under a tree near some mulch when I noticed a piece of wood with nails still in it,” he said.

“I just thought, ‘well, that’s weird, I wonder what else is here?’ And then I found crunched-up building material, insulated wire and this white composite material.”

Hobsons Bay City Council will now check more playgrounds across the area for asbestos.

“We are conducting a thorough inspection of all open space and conservation areas where we have used recycled mulch from this specific supplier,” it said.

The playground has been closed since Tuesday after a hygienist inspected the site.

All playgrounds in the area are regularly inspected by a safety auditor, the council said.

Earlier this week, Victorians were urged to avoid free garden mulch from online marketplaces after asbestos was detected in one batch.

The protection agency conducted precautionary inspections of 59 commercial mulch producers and found no traces of asbestos in their garden mulch products.

Testing was triggered after fragments of bonded asbestos were detected in Sydney’s Rozelle Parklands in January.

Queensland authorities have identified at least 90 sites for investigation.


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