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Bega Valley Shire CouncilBega Valley Shire Council

Debris & Clean-up

Clean up.The Commonwealth and NSW Government, under the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements, are jointly funding operations to contain fire damaged asbestos and ensure public health and safety is protected.  

Funding to assist with the clean-up for fire impacted residents of Tathra, Reedy Swamp and surrounds has also been announced. This will include:

  • the removal of asbestos contaminated material released as a result of the bush fire;
  • removal of all dangerous debris, including destroyed homes and trees; and
  • the removal of concrete slabs.

Key information

  • The NSW Government is coordinating with insurance companies, local council and key agencies to ensure the clean-up of debris is done safely and efficiently.
  • If you are insured you should first speak to your insurance company about your entitlements and the clean-up process.
  • If you are not insured, you should register with the Recovery Centre and also speak with Disaster Welfare Services.

Asbestos-related information

  • To minimise risk, any fire-damaged asbestos material found on properties has been treated with a PVA water-based sealant as a stabilisation measure. Properties deemed as a high risk of containing asbestos material have also been treated.
  • Air monitoring has been conducted 24 hours per day in four locations since 19 March and is continuing. All results have reported no detectable asbestos, indicating no risk to health from airborne asbestos.
  • It is strongly advised not to enter asbestos affected sites because of the possibility of disturbing the stabilised asbestos. Access to the immediate site must be limited to those involved in the clean-up. They are required to wear appropriate personal protective equipment (including a suitable type P2 respirator and disposable coveralls).
  • All asbestos material will be transported by licensed asbestos removalists to Bega Valley Shire Council’s landfill at Eden. Strict conditions on the handling and transport of these materials are in place to protect public health and safety.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • My property has been confirmed as containing asbestos contamination, what should I do?

Owners of insured properties should contact their insurance providers and arrange for the assessment and removal of asbestos, including a subsequent clearance certificate from a recognised hygienist or Licensed Asbestos Assessor (LAA).  A listing of LAA’s are available at www.constructionassist.nsw.gov.au

Uninsured property owners should contact Public Works Advisory on 1800 959 444 for advice.  A Deed of Access will need to be submitted to commence assessment and clean-up, these can be downloaded from the OEM Tathra Fire Clean Web Site and submitted to Bega Valley Shire Council.

  • When will my property be cleaned?

Owners of insured properties should contact their insurance providers for status updates on the clean-up of their properties.

For owners of uninsured properties, the first step is to sign a Deed of Access. This gives consent to Public Works Advisory and any relevant agency or contractor to access your property and review your individual circumstances.  

There will be further clarity around the program and work as the clean-up progresses.   

  • When will the first work begin?

Some works have already begun. Properties with asbestos are being prioritised and removal is expected to begin from Monday 9 April.

Speak to your insurance company for information and updates on the works schedule for your property.

  • How will the asbestos be removed?

The material will be transported by licensed asbestos removalists to Bega Valley Shire Council’s landfill at Eden. Strict conditions on the handling and transport of these materials are in place to protect public health and safety.

  • How do I know my property will be safe following the removal of asbestos?  

Once work has been completed at your property, it will be inspected by a qualified hygienist or LAA who will issue an Asbestos Clearance Certificate. Your insurance provider can provide status updates on clean-up and asbestos removal works.

  • Who will undertake the work?

Your insurance company or Public Works Advisory will engage licensed contractors and qualified asbestos removalists to ensure materials are safely and properly removed.  You can check the details of licence holders using www.constructionassist.nsw.gov.au

  • How long will it take to clean-up the affected properties?  

Owners of insured properties should contact their insurance providers for status updates on the clean-up of their properties.

As a guide, clean-up usually takes up to 5 days per site.  The timing of the clean-up will depend on agreements reached with the landowners and whether asbestos materials are present.  

  • How will I know when asbestos is being removed from my neighbouring property?

The licenced asbestos removalist will notify neighbouring properties before they start to remove asbestos.  They will have safety precautions in place such as displaying warning signs and erect barricades and wear protective clothing.   

  • Is there a health risk to people living in houses near contaminated sites?

No – as long as the asbestos material is not disturbed. Sites containing asbestos material and sites with a high risk of containing asbestos material were sprayed with a PVA mixture to eliminate dust generation. During the asbestos clean-up and remediation work, licensed contractors will undertake works in-accordance with strict regulatory safety requirements.  

  • What testing is being conducted?

Air monitoring has been conducted 24 hours per day in four locations since 19 March and is continuing. All results have reported no detectable asbestos, meaning there is no risk to health from airborne asbestos.

Air monitoring will continue while the clean-up work is being carried out.

  • Will heavy rainfall affect the PVA sealant?

Teams are on standby to re-spray properties should the PVA sealant be impacted by rain.

  • There may be valuable personal items on my property. Can I search for them before demolition?

If your property contains asbestos, we strongly advise against entering to search for personal items as the site may be unstable and could disturb the asbestos. We recommend you speak to Public Works who may be able to engage a licensed contractor to carry out this work for you.

If your property does not contain asbestos, we recommend you search through the remains only if wearing the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), for example, sturdy footwear, mask, gloves, protective clothing etc.  

  • Can I do any demolition myself?

No. A licence is required to conduct certain types of demolition work.  Refer to SafeWork NSW for details and contact Bega Valley Shire Council for further advice. www.safework.nsw.gov.au/health-and-safety/industry-safety/demolition

Asbestos-affected properties require works to be carried out by qualified asbestos removalists licensed by SafeWork NSW to ensure asbestos is safely and properly removed.

Demolition & Clean-up

Public Works Advisory (PWA) is assisting the clean-up of homes in partnership with insurers and Bega Valley Shire Council.

Owners of insured properties should contact their insurance providers to arrange clean-up works.

Uninsured property owners should contact PWA on 1800 959 444 for advice.  A Deed of Access will need to be submitted to commence assessment and clean-up.

Deeds of Access can be returned to Council via post or email:

Postal Address: PO Box 492, Bega NSW 2550
Phone: (02) 6499 2222 (Office Hours)
Fax: (02) 6499 2200
Email: council@begavalley.nsw.gov.au

Public Works Advisory clean-up enquiries: Please call 1800 959 444 (Office Hours)

More information can be obtained from the Recovery Centre

 

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