The Environment Protection Authority has confirmed CFA crews were exposed to asbestos during a controlled burn in Flagstaff.
Carisbrook CFA undertook the burn-off at the former Penney and Lang abattoirs site at the request of the CEntral Goldfields Shire Council in mid-August.
“EPA attended the premises and is currently investigating potential breaches of the Environment Protection Act 1970,” an EPA spokesperson said.
“Those investigations have already revealed that asbestos was present at the site.”
A clean-up notice has been issued to Central Goldfields Shire Council and the asbestos has already been removed.
Compliance with the clean-up notice must occur by September 7.
The EPA spokesperson said it cannot comment further while the investigation is ongoing.
“(We are) satisfied there is currently a low risk to the public at this time due to the asbestos being removed,” the spokesperson said.
At the time, the shire’s former mayor Geoff Lovett said council staff led members of the Carisbrook CFA to believe the recently-burnt waste pile did not contain asbestos.
Cr Lovett also said a risk assessment was not conducted on the mound at the former Penney and Lang abattoirs site, in Madmans Lane, Flagstaff.
An asbestos-accredited company, dressed in “moon suits”, cleaned up what remained of the pile the day after the burn, erecting asbestos warning signs, Cr Lovett said.
“There was no risk assessment done and I find that absolutely appalling,” he said.
“I’m very, very concerned about the processes we didn’t follow.”
Central Goldfields Shire Council interim chief executive officer Vince Haining said: “The processes associated with the clearance of the site were inadequate and we acknowledge that.”
“If the issue has caused distress to any individuals we apologise unreservedly.”
Community members who may have concerns about similar incidents should contact the EPA pollution hotline on 1300 372 842.