Mulch testing underway at Penrith Christian School

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Urgent testing is underway on mulch at Penrith Christian School as the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) continues to investigate an asbestos saga across the state.

There is currently no evidence of asbestos contamination at Penrith Christian School but the testing is happening out of caution.

The school remains open.

“This is precautionary testing only,” the EPA said in a statement.

“Once results are finalised, the EPA will advise what further action may be required. We encourage parents with concerns about mulch in their child’s school, to contact the school directly for the most up to date information.”

In a statement, the school said mulch on site was not able to be accessed by students.

“The school responded swiftly and under the guidance of relevant authorities in communicating with families, and also to ensure that the mulch on site was isolated and not able to be accessed. The mulch pile is a very large distance from where there are any learning or place spaces, or where people walk-through,” the statement said.

“We will communicate further with our families once notified of the result of the testing by the EPA.”

Yesterday, the State Government announced an Asbestos Taskforce to give more resources and support to the NSW Environment Protection Authority’s investigation into asbestos in mulch.

The taskforce will help co-ordinate government agencies and assist in prioritising sites considered of highest risk to the public, to ensure all resources are available to secure and remediate sites.

“The NSW Government is committed to ensuring the community is safe from any potential harmful impacts of contact with asbestos,” said Environment Minister, Penny Sharpe.

“This is the largest investigation the Environment Protection Authority has undertaken in recent decades. The complex, criminal investigation involves multiple lines of enquiry.

“Our number one priority is to finish contract tracing the supply chain – so that any potential receiver of the mulch is notified. That means we can take immediate action to make the area safe.

“The surge workforce means we can get to the bottom of the supply chain much faster.

“I am also taking advice on options to strengthen penalties for those who do the wrong thing.”

Recently, parts of Regatta Park at Emu Plains were closed as part of the asbestos saga.

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