ANGRY residents are questioning the source of asbestos sheeting found littered along Stockton beach.
Residents, including Shannon Hancock, have been regularly collecting fragments of asbestos washed up on the beach between the breakwater and The Pines swimming area.
Save Stockton Beach spokesman Simon Jones said it was unknown where it came from but asbestos should not be on the beach.
“There are people asking if it’s safe to let their kids and grandkids play on the beach,” he said.
“Further up the beach you see workers cleaning up the old tip site wearing protective suits and respirators because they’re dealing with asbestos. That shows you the precautions taken when dealing with this stuff.”
The Newcastle Herald revealed in January that an old council tip on land owned by Hunter Water and NSW Crown Lands had been exposed by ongoing erosion and rubbish was washing into the sea.
Last week Hunter Water began removing 8000 tonnes of waste from the tip site, near Corroba Oval.
A specialist contractor, licenced to deal with friable asbestos, is doing the work that is expected to take three weeks and cost about $1.9 million.
Hunter Water’s spokeswoman said the tip site was secured by a geo-fabric cover, that was regularly inspected and maintained.
“There has been no further exposure of the landfill on our site since the initial incident in January,” she said.
Mr Hancock said if the beach erosion problem had been dealt with properly by successive state governments the tip site would never have been exposed to the sea.
“We’ve got a very real problem with the beach just washing away more and more each week,” he said.
“We need the State Government to get serious and do something about it before the problem gets any worse.
“If it wasn’t for the erosion, we would never have known the tip site was there and we wouldn’t be finding old rubbish constantly washing up on the beach. It’s past crunch time on this issue.”