25/05/2012 - 14:00

Asbestos fears halt road base recycling

25/05/2012 - 14:00

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Main Roads WA has reverted to using limestone for road base after asbestos fears prompted Transport Minister Troy Buswell to stop it using crushed construction and demolition waste.

Recycling of the waste will remain suspended until the Department of Environment and the Department of Health have completed a review, despite tests confirming there was no asbestos in what has already been recycled to date.

The agreement between Main Roads WA and the Waste Authority last year was heralded as a “landmark” move to reduce the level of waste going to landfill.

More than one million tonnes of waste was expected to be diverted and instead used on  the Great Eastern Highway upgrade.

Local company Capital Recycling was awarded a contract for this work.

At the time of the agreement was made Environment Minister Bill Marmion said its significance could not be understated, and it’s understood he has continued to defend its feasibility in spite of asbestos concerns.

However, Mr Buswell said he decided to put a stop to the recycling after concerns were raised with him by sections of the recycling industry earlier this month.

“I asked Main Roads to suspend the use of recycled building material in any of its road construction projects until a review into testing regimes and standards is completed and any recommendations are fully considered,” he said.

The review was intended to ensure the highest possible level of safety was provided for both the public and those engaged in the road construction.

Mr Buswell expected the review and advice on outcomes to be with him “shortly”.

To date Main Roads has used 85,000 tonnes of recycled materials on road sub-base construction on the Great Eastern Highway upgrade.

Despite testing by both the City East Alliance and Main Roads not detecting any asbestos, Main Roads and its contractor would continue using lime stone on the project.

 

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