Western Australia water pipeline pump station plagued by asbestos

13 Jun 2017 by Sarah Mahan under News
576px Goldfields Pipeline SMC 100x100 Western Australia water pipeline pump station plagued by asbestos

Credit: SeanMack/Wikipedia

For nearly three years, an area near Western Australia’s Goldfields Pipeline, one of the longest fresh water pipelines in the world, has been quarantined due to ongoing asbestos contamination, but the state’s Water Corporation recently announced the asbestos-contaminated area at one of the pipeline’s pump stations poses no threat to the public water supply.

The 114-year-old pump building was first found to contain asbestos in 2014, which was removed the next year, but additional inspection found the contamination was more extensive than originally thought. Still, officials maintain no threat to the water supply exists, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

“There is an old steam pump station and settlement which, like many buildings constructed in WA at the time, contains asbestos materials,” Sharon Broad, Agricultural regional manager, said. “There is an operational pump station and two reservoirs, however there is no risk to the public drinking water supply.”

As soon as the scale of the asbestos contamination was realized, the utility fenced the area off and sprayed it down with stabilization solution to prevent exposure.

Asbestos, a group of six silicate minerals, was once used in a variety of construction materials before it was known to be carcinogenic. The inhalation or ingestion of asbestos fibers can lead to the development of lung cancer or , a deadly disease that affects the lining of the heart, lungs or abdomen.

Plans are underway to have the pump station area completely abated by the end of this year. “Water corporation has not received any reports of exposure from workers or local residents,” Broad said.

 

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