ENVIRONMENT officials investigated soil at Apollo Bay’s foreshore yesterday after reports of a possible asbestos contamination.
Victorian Environment Protection Agency officials travelled to Apollo Bay to test soil along the foreshore and at locations around the town.
Otway Coast Committee used leftover soil from a car park construction at Pascoe Street to top up uneven areas along the foreshore.
The committee later received reports people had found small pieces of “cement sheeting” in the soil.
OCC chairman Gary McPike said his group was working with the EPA to establish whether the soil was contaminated.
“The EPA are here at the moment and we’re working with them to ensure public safety,” he told the Colac Herald yesterday.
“There has been a handful of small pieces of cement sheeting found, it’s not confirmed that it’s asbestos cement sheeting.
“At the moment we’re doing what we can under the direction from the EPA to protect public safety and we’re taking a precautious approach until we know for certain.”
A Colac Otway Shire Council contractor removed the soil from the Pascoe Street site and made it available for use.
Mr McPike said the group inspected the soil and used it at locations around the town including the foreshore.
“We inspected it ourselves in good faith and looked like clean black sandy loam,” he said.
“The soil came from the new car park which council contractors constructed behind the shops in Apollo Bay and it went to a number of sites in town.
“We wanted to top dress the Apollo Bay common area and reseed it to make it a bit more level so we put some soil on there; as far as total volume is concerned it’s a small percentage.”
Council chief Sue Wilkinson said the OCC had made a private arrangement with contractors to use the soil. “Council understands that the OCC came to a private arrangement with the contractor that completed a car park in Pascoe Street, to use excess soil on the Apollo Bay foreshore,” she said.
“Council was not advised of this arrangement, nor were we required to be advised.
“These arrangements sat outside any contractual agreements that council had with the contractors for the Pascoe Street car park.”