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Government NSW

EPA TO CONDUCT PRIORITY TESTING AT SYDNEY SCHOOLS

EPA 2 mins read

Through the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) supply chain tracking, seven schools have been identified for precautionary testing, with inspections commencing last night and today.  

There is currently no evidence of asbestos contamination at any of the schools identified. The EPA is providing this advice ahead of testing to keep the school community across developments so they can advise parents and keep school communities safe. 

This is precautionary testing only. Schools have made individual risk assessments based on the amount of mulch on site, with the majority remaining open and one school choosing to close.

Those that remain open are advised to keep students and staff away from garden beds in and around the school sites, and to expect to see EPA officers on the ground throughout the day.

This decision was supported by the NSW Government Asbestos Taskforce, which includes representatives from NSW Health and the Department of Education.

To date, around 90 per cent of tested sites have returned a negative or clean result. Twenty-four sites have returned a positive result for bonded asbestos, which NSW Health advises is low risk to public health, and one site for friable asbestos.

These schools have been identified as having received mulch from the same manufacturer that has supplied mulch to the 25 other sites.

Inspections will be taking place at:

  • Allambie Heights Public School in Allambie Heights
  • International Grammar School in Ultimo
  • Mt Annan Christian College in Mt Annan
  • North Sydney Public School in North Sydney
  • Penrith Christian School in Orchard Hills
  • St Luke’s Catholic College in Marsden Park – Closed today.
  • Westmead Christian Grammar in Westmead

Once results are finalised, the EPA will advise what further action may be required. We encourage parents with concerns about mulch in their child’s school, to contact the school directly for the most up to date information.

Other new sites confirmed with positive results for bonded asbestos include - St John of God Hospital in North Richmond, Woolworths at Kellyville and a Transport for NSW park at Wiley Park.

All landowners have been advised to put in place measures to prevent public access and begin removal of the contaminated mulch.

All positive sites will be updated on the EPA website daily. For more information on our asbestos investigation or to report concerns about recycled mulch please visit here.  If you have concerns about mulch, you have recently received, please contact the EPA Environment Line on 131 555 or at info@epa.nsw.gov.au.

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