Photo: Aramac PHC.

An investigation into the discovery of fragments of asbestos-containing material found lying on
the surface of an empty lot behind the Aramac Primary Healthcare Centre has found no risk to
human health.

Central West Hospital and Health Service Chief Executive Jane Hancock said several loose
pieces had been found in early March during a walk-through of the empty lot on which a new
$3.1 million health facility is to be built.

“The investigation of the site by expert consultants indicates the material comprises a very small
number of loose surface fragments that had been mostly covered by a thin layer of silt or grass
over the years,’’ Ms Hancock said.

“These fragments were discovered scattered randomly on the surface or close to the surface
across the proposed development site for the new Aramac health facility.

“Several small fragments also were found on a section of the grounds of the existing Aramac

“It is believed these fragments may have fallen on or been blown across the grounds from
previous works undertaken in and around the more than 100-year-old Aramac PHCC in years
gone by.

“There is no evidence of any quantities of asbestos-containing material having been buried or
dumped on the site in the past.

“Monitoring of air quality levels across the entire area while test pits were dug and the
investigation carried out also showed the surrounding air quality was entirely within normal

“This is all good news as it shows there is no airborne asbestos fibre risk for patients, staff or
local residents.

“The mere presence of asbestos-containing material does not constitute a public health risk if
people are not exposed to airborne fibres.

“Even weathered asbestos cement products do not release significant amounts of airborne
fibres unless the material is significantly disturbed.

“The next step now is to determine the best option for removing these loose fragments from
both the proposed new health facility development site and the existing PHCC, so that work on
the new facility can get under way.

“We are taking advice from expert consultants as to how this can best be achieved and will
make a final decision in the coming weeks.

“In the meantime, while we consider the best method for removing these surface fragments, the
areas where they have been discovered have been temporarily spray sealed so as to ensure
there is no risk of airborne contamination.

“Any works to remove these surface fragments will be undertaken by expert contractors under
established protocols for the removal of asbestos-containing materials.’’
Ms Hancock said the discovery of the asbestos-containing fragments and the need to clear the
site would mean a delay to the start of work on the new Aramac health facility.

“We still intend to start work on the new facility this year but, due to this delay, we are unlikely to
be able to complete the project this year as originally planned,’’ she said.

“We will continue to update the community as the situation progresses.’’

• Anyone with any concerns can contact Central West Health Chief Executive Jane Hancock
on 0412 744 357 for further information.