Asbestos removed from North Brisbane footpath

By on March 6, 2014
Telstra contractors working on an asbestos removal site in Brisbane.

TELSTRA removed asbestos from a Wavell Heights North footpath this morning after the site was flagged by NorthernLife.com.au as a potential hazard.

NorthernLife.com.au contacted Telstra on February 24 seeking reassurance that worse-for-wear pits on Newman Rd, Wavell Heights, were free of asbestos risk.

Telstra failed to reply about the asbestos status of these pits but NorthernLife.com.au this morning photographed contractors repairing one of the pits after work earlier in the day to remove asbestos.

NorthernLife.com.au believed the workers would also be adding additional concrete sealing to the next pit to the north (See update at bottom).

The pits are on the eastern side of Newman Rd between Abdale St and Main Avenue.

The Brisbane Telstra pit after the asbestos was removed.

A resident said Telstra put a letter in her mailbox to advise they would be removing asbestos. (Should Telstra have done more than a letter? Let us know in the comments below)

ABC TV’s Stateline early in February reported safety concerns about Telstra pits that have concrete rather than plastic edging.

The report quoted Phil Hughes, of the Communications Workers Union and Garry Rogers from the Electrical Trades Union, who both expressed concern about degraded lids and edging, which are supposed to seal the asbestos in the pits.

The ABC also quoted asbestos compensation lawyer Thady Blundell as warning of the dangers of asbestos exposure.

“Any level of asbestos exposure is capable of causing mesothelioma,” Mr Blundell said.

Mesothelioma is a cancer usually caused by asbestos that often attacks the lungs.

A Telstra bit in North Brisbane with crumbling edges.

Mr Rogers and Mr Hughes expressed amazement that Brisbanites were not more concerned about the asbestos on their footpaths, with Mr Rogers flagging that people often used the lawn mower and trimmer over and around the pits.

UPDATE: (March 10, 2014):  A Brisbane City Council spokesperson said they inspected the site on March 10, 2014, and found no evidence of asbestos-containing material (ACM) fragments on the footpath in Newman Rd between Main Avenue and Abdale St, nor at three nearby locations where recent pit and concrete-surround replacement works were completed by Telstra.

“Unlike the prefabricated telecommunications pits which use asbestos fibre to increase durability, footpaths are generally constructed of concrete only, with no ACM used in their construction,” the spokesperson said.

“The incidence of ACM found in footpaths is extremely low. The main source of ACM found on footpaths is from illegal dumping, which is collected as soon as practical when reported to council.”

“If residents find quantities of ACM within a footpath they are urged to report it to council’s contact centre on 3403 8888.”

UPDATE (March 7, 2014): Two more Telstra pits were re-sealed this morning just north and south of a pit from which we believe asbestos was removed yesterday. That’s three in a row that needed attention. And Telstra is still ignoring NorthernLife.com.au’s questions and a Telstra workman told us this morning he had been instructed not to speak to NorthernLife.com.au.

About Nick Moore

Nick Moore is the editor of NorthernLife.com.au. He also edits the printed Great Wait. Nick started as a journalist in 1993 and has worked for Fairfax, News Corp and APN.

One Comment

  1. Caroline Ryan

    March 6, 2014 at 3:03 pm

    They absolutely should let people know. Actually there were a couple of men in our street today checking something along the street – didn’t take much notice. Maybe I should have!

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