Removing asbestos pipes

The Dunedin City Council says it will remove decaying asbestos pipes from public land after their existence at Sullivans Dam was noted by the Amalgamated Workers Union.

The pipes are beside sheds near the entrance to the popular fishing spot in Leith Valley Rd.

The council yesterday said it had not known the pipes were there.

Tensions appear to be high between the two organisations, though neither would say on record why that was.

The council questioned the union's actions in bringing the matter to the Otago Daily Times rather than alerting council staff.

The issue follows another where the union brought attention to cut and broken pipes at the council's Mosgiel wastewater treatment plant.

Those pipes were removed last month.

Union representative Stephen Scandrett alerted the ODT to the pipe in the water catchment area of the dam in an area used by fishers, picnickers and others.

‘‘The Dunedin public needs to be warned and informed of the dangers of rotting asbestos pipe in the locations and to see them responsibly removed.''

Mr Scandrett said there needed to be ‘‘a major change in attitude to public safety'' by the council.

Council water and waste group manager Laura McElhone responded the organisation took its health and safety responsibilities ‘‘very seriously''.

‘‘The council's current management team were not previously aware of the presence of these pipes.

‘‘We will take immediate steps to have them isolated and removed by appropriately qualified contractors.''

Dr McElhone said she was disappointed the union had ‘‘chosen to report these pipes to the media without first having alerted council staff to their existence''.

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