Potential asbestos contamination at Walloon school

Walloon State School’s new hard court is one item among many new construction projects. PHOTO: CONTRIBUTED

Walloon State School is one of 16 sites around Brisbane supplied with mulch potentially contaminated with asbestos, according to Workplace Health and Safety Queensland (WHSQ).

Asbestos was been detected in a compost stockpile at NuGrow in Swanbank, which had provided material to 16 businesses since February 2.

WHSQ regulator Peter McKay said investigations into the supply chain were continuing.

“We will continue to keep our website updated with the location of public sites which may have received this material,” Mr McKay said.

“Given the nature of its use and the extremely small size of the one positive sample found, the risk to the public is low, but we will continue to take no chances.”

A spokesperson for the Department of Education said the safety of students and staff in Queensland state schools was the highest priority.

“Walloon State School has been identified as potentially having mulch that could contain ACM [asbestos containing material] in some outdoor areas of the schools,” the spokesperson said.

“The Department of Education understands the material identified at the school is soil underneath gardens and turf associated with construction works.

“This does not refer to the bark mulch covering the gardens.

“Access to these areas has been restricted while further testing and investigation is underway.”

The spokesperson said construction work was continuing at the school, however the distribution of the soil product had ceased, and an exclusion zone was created to restrict access to areas where the mulch is stored or had already been distributed.

“The department and the schools are actively managing this matter in accordance with long established and thorough safety management protocols, and will continue to work with the Office of Industrial Relations and other relevant agencies in response,” they said.

“Further information will be communicated to the school communities as soon as the scope and impact of any future works to come are known.”