Outcome of Detailed Site Investigation into asbestos at Little Bay Beach

Published Date
News Topic
Upgrades & Improvements, Beaches & Lifeguards
Little Bay Beach

A Detailed Site Investigation (DSI) into asbestos containing material regularly being found at Little Bay Beach since 2020, has concluded the material is likely moving onto the beach area from three nearby gullies which contain old building materials likely dumped or buried many decades ago.

The outcomes are documented in a report published on Randwick City Council's website and in a letter sent to nearby Little Bay and Malabar property owners in January 2023.

The DSI recommends a range of ongoing short, medium and long-term actions to address the issue which was first brought to Council's attention in 2020 by a local resident.

Council took immediate steps at the time to address the issue by engaging expert consultants and advisors who attended the site and removed the identified materials.

Since this time Council has been regularly inspecting the beach and removing all asbestos containing material that continues to surface. In total, more than 2,000 pieces of asbestos containing material have been identified and removed - mostly the material is old fibro sheeting contained bonded non-friable asbestos that was commonly used as a building product.

In April 2021, Randwick City Council engaged expert consultants, RMA Group and Trinitas Group, to undertake a Detailed Site Investigation (DSI) of Little Bay Beach to better understand the source of asbestos containing material.

The DSI involved closing the beach for a week while a more intensive analysis took place by drilling 45 test pits to excavate soil samples for testing.

The DSI found 15 out of the 45 test pits contained asbestos –confirmed to be bonded, non-friable asbestos. No friable or trace asbestos was identified at any of the test pits.

Outcomes of Detailed Site Investigation.

The asbestos was mostly found near the gullies where stormwater flows to the beach.

The investigation noted that: “Due to the nature of site contamination by bonded asbestos fragments in soil and on sand surfaces, it is the opinion of Trinitas that asbestos contamination at the Site poses a potentially low health risk to site users.”

Council understand the community concern regarding asbestos and as such has taken an extremely diligent and conservative approach to the management of the beach.

An Interim Human Health Risk Assessment of the beach has also been completed by an accredited Human Health Risk Assessor who has identified that the beach, in its current state, does not pose an unacceptable health risk to ongoing and future users of the beach, or potentially sensitive populations in proximity to the beach.

The low risk means Council has been able to keep the beach open to general use while managing the ongoing removal of materials containing asbestos.

The DSI recommends a range of actions.

Short term (actions complete/ongoing):

Medium term actions (not yet undertaken):

Longer terms actions (not yet undertaken):

Randwick Council has been keeping residents informed about the issue regularly through letters to local residents, updates on its website and media reports.

Information sent to the community in January 2023:

If you'd like to read the full Detailed Site Investigation Report  you download the documents here:

For more information about this important project including frequently asked questions, refer to Council's Little Bay Beach Asbestos Management webpage.

Last Updated: 25 January 2023
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