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Health warning issued for Tingha fire clean-up

Tingha residents are being urged not to begin a major clean-up of properties affected by this week’s bushfire, because of concerns about possible contaminants, including asbestos.

A recovery crew will be deployed into the impacted area, to conduct appropriate analysis of materials and ensure collection and disposal is done correctly and safely.

“There is a very real health and safety risk to residents and personnel deployed to Tingha and surrounds, partly due to the high prevalence of asbestos as a building product in the area and the effects of the fire,” according to a statement from the Emergency Operations Centre established to coordinate the response to the fire.

“We appreciate the desire of residents to clean up their properties and get their lives back on track but we can’t emphasise enough the importance of people working with authorities to protect the wellbeing of everyone involved.”

Residents will be kept informed about the clean-up process, as everyone works together to deal with this devastating event for the community.

NSW Environment Protection Authority and Local Land Services officials are working with police, the Rural Fire Service, Armidale Regional Council and other organisations to assess and address the effects of the fire.

In the meantime, residents are advised to:
avoid fire-damaged debris where asbestos might be present
not place fire debris in normal waste bins, especially where hot ash might be present

While this occurs, there is likely to be delays to the regular kerbside waste collection service in Tingha. Council is hoping collection services will be restored within a couple of days.

Residents in the Tingha are also being urged to limit their water use to essential purposes during the ongoing bush fire threat period.

The pipelines, pumps and reservoirs supplying water to Tingha have a limited capacity and demand has exceeded possible supply levels in recent days, reducing storage to critically low levels.

 

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