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Australian Waste Companies Producing Recycled Soil Broke Rules on Contamination - Report

© AP Photo / KAREN TAMFollowing lunch Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2003, an employee returns to his job on the excavator at the top of the hill of cleaned dirt at the Warren County PCB Landfill Detroxification Project near Warrenton, N.C.
Following lunch Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2003, an employee returns to his job on the excavator at the top of the hill of cleaned dirt at the Warren County PCB Landfill Detroxification Project near Warrenton, N.C.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 28.05.2024
The report claims that in one case, 16 tons of asbestos-contaminated soil produced by KLF Holdings was supplied to an apartment complex.
According to a report published on Monday, some of the “best-known waste companies” in New South Wales (NSW), Australia have broken safety rules causing potentially contaminated soil to be supplied to public yards, schools and childcare centers.
According to Guardian Australia, waste management companies including Bingo Industries, Aussie Skips Recycling, Benedict Recycling and KLF Holdings broke state regulations for testing soil made from recycled construction and demolition waste.
“Each year facilities in NSW produce about 700,000 tons of fill made from recovered fines. They are required under resource recovery regulations to test their products for hazardous contaminants such as lead,” the report writes, adding that if the facility passes legislated thresholds they must dispose of the product and report the results to the EPA.
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However, an EPA investigation in 2013 and another in 2019 found “widespread breaches of routing sampling and testing requirements”. Some of the investigations also found that companies would retest their samples until they received a result that was compliant.
The recycled soil comes from residues found in trash skips at construction and demolition sites. Recycling facilities then process the waste and rebrand it as recycled turf underlay, budget fill, crusher dust or recycled road base, according to the London-based newspaper. The fill is also sold directly to consumers who use it for home landscaping.
The news site first published their findings on Sunday and claimed to have found asbestos in a sample of recycled soil more than a decade after the contamination was first suspected by the state’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The newspaper’s Australian office bought four products available for purchase at landscaping supply stores and had those samples tested by private labs. At least two did not comply with state regulations regarding pH levels and one was found to contain asbestos fibers, the report said. One of the products even contained a piece of glass and a metal screw.
“Based on those four products, one of them potentially poses a health risk because it contained asbestos fibers,” said Jason Scarborough, a former senior waste compliance officer at the NSW Environment Protection Authority. “Another would be unsuitable for any sort of horticultural use."
“Fifty per cent are not compliant with an aspect of the [recovered fines] order and another had serious visible physical contamination that wasn’t reflected in the laboratory results,” he added. “...three out of the four products I wouldn’t use.”
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