Volunteers from Stewards of Cootes Watershed found several feet of asbestos concrete pipe dumped in a Dundas ravine home to an outdoor recreation program.
Staff and kids from Learning in the Woods stayed away from the area up to 20 feet of the pipe containing asbestos fibre was found. A number of other items were dumped in the area off Ancient Guelph Road near Highway 6.
Alan Hansell, executive director of the Stewards of Cootes said the recreational facility is a nice use of the space – but the dumping of a variety of material, including broken pipe containing asbestos fibres, is even more concerning because children play nearby.
“They promote kids exploring nature, but we don’t want them exploring this stuff,” Hansell said.
He said Stewards of Cootes volunteers, who help with clean-up’s every weekend throughout the watershed in hopes of returning it to pristine condition, will visit the site again to flag any other asbestos pipe they can find without handling it – then will question the City of Hamilton to have its contractor remove it.
City staff confirmed Friday they were aware of the discovery, but had not yet sent anyone to investigate.
“We will be training our crew leaders to identify asbestos as this is our second find, but no volunteers or staff from (Stewards of Cootes) will be handling this kind of material,” Hansell said.
Emily Walsh of the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance said it is common for people to dispose of demolition material in this way, particularly when asbestos is present, in order to save money required to follow proper disposal procedures.
“The huge thing the general public misses in tales like this is why asbestos is perilous,” Walsh said. “The threat is that asbestos can be ingested into the body and lead to mesothelioma cancer.
“There is no safe level of asbestos exposure, so it is excellent the children are being kept away from the cleanup site.”
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