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August 20, 2018

Loose asbestos in house

Greater Hume general manager Steve Pinnuck.

Greater Hume general manager Steve Pinnuck.

THE NSW Privacy Act stands in the way of a loose-fill asbestos taskforce naming the town in Greater Hume Shire where a property tested positive for the deadly insulation.

The finding has prompted Greater Hume Council to encourage people with loose-fill asbestos in their roof to register for the NSW government’s free testing program.

Greater Hume general manager Steve Pinnuck said the council had been advised of the location of the house which tested positive, but could not disclose exactly whether that property was in Jindera, Culcairn, Holbrook or any other shire town.

Neighbours of the affected property have not been notified.

“The homeowner has been made aware and there is assistance available to householders in the way of short-term accommodation, as well as replacement of soft furnishings and clothing,” Mr Pinnuck said.

A NSW loose-fill asbestos insulation taskforce spokesman said the NSW Privacy Act prevented the taskforce from revealing the location.

“The taskforce is not able to confirm the location of a property without the written consent of the owner,” he said.

Early last month a house in the Berrigan Shire Council became the first property in the southern Riverina to test positive, bringing the number of affected properties in NSW to 58.

A testing program was introduced in response to problems identified with those houses where a private contractor from Canberra known as Mr Fluffy had pumped friable loose asbestos fibre into their roof between 1968 and 1980.

Most of the properties affected are in the ACT.

Mr Pinnuck said the council was surprised to be one of the 26 local government areas named as a possible location where loose-fill asbestos was installed.

“There’s been at least one property and there could be more,” he said.

The taskforce spokesman said the property in the Greater Hume Shire participated in an independent investigation into loose-fill asbestos in NSW’s free ceiling insulation testing program.

He said a free independent technical assessment by a licensed asbestos assessor would now be offered to the property owners as part of the taskforce’s “Make Safe” assistance package.

The council will work with the taskforce and provide appropriate support and assistance to the affected owner.

Anyone wanting to arrange a free sample test should phone 13 77 88.

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Loose asbestos in house

Asbestos warning for homeowners


Asbestos warning for homeowners


Last updated 07:55 18/10/2014

Canterbury homeowners carrying out their own earthquake repairs could be at risk of asbestos contamination, government and local body agencies warn.

The Combined Health and Environment Risks Programme Control Group (CHER) yesterday launched a website designed to help owners and contractors identify and manage asbestos risk. CHER spokesperson Kathryn Heiler said up to 70,000 houses could contain asbestos.

Property owners doing DIY repairs and small contractors could be putting themselves at risk.

Asbestos created a health risk only if it was disturbed or broken up and fibres were released into the air, CHER said.

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Asbestos warning for homeowners

Landfill facing asbestos concerns during storm repairs in Madison County

Canastota (WSYR-TV) – The ruins of a former antique store and a karate business have been piled in a heap in Oneida since early July. The biggest obstacle to getting it cleaned up appears to be money.

“They have to truck it all the way out to Seneca Falls. That’s the nearest dump that allows it from our area,” said Heath Waterman, who owns part of the property.

He has a contractor lined up to haul away his portion of the rubble, once he has the money saved to pay for the trip.

“The fact is that we do not accept friable asbestos in the Madison County landfill,” explained Madison County Department of Solid Waste and Sanitation Director James Zecca.

Too small to handle that type of waste, the Madison County landfill is getting swamped with calls from homeowners wondering what to do with materials containing asbestos.

“With all of the storms that we’ve been having, unfortunately people’s homes have been damaged and they are doing some major renovations, and in worse case scenarios it is complete demolition of their homes,” Zecca said.

The landfill director is hoping to educate property owners about the rules. Zecca recommends a survey by state certified inspectors before any renovation work begins, identifying areas for removing friable or non-friable asbestos separately.

Zecca says powdery friable asbestos, often found on pipe insulation and various building materials, can cost up to $200 a ton to unload in other landfills. However, non-friable asbestos on floor tiles or roof shingles, among other things, is accepted at the Madison County landfill, for far less money.

An inspector will help property owners determine the difference before they start tearing a room apart, so they can contain removal of friable asbestos separately, minimizing trips to other landfills.

“Once the building is down, there is no way of identifying where the asbestos is located. So, what the state does is, they step in and say all of the debris, the total house now is considered contaminated with friable asbestos.”

There’s no proof that Waterman’s building contained friable asbestos. But, there’s also no proof it did not contain the waste. He didn’t have an updated asbestos report on record when the City of Oneida ordered an emergency demolition after the wall collapsed.

Now, as a precaution, all of the rubble is classified as possibly containing friable asbestos.

Without the money to transport the debris at the higher rate of disposal, Waterman has a mess that he hopes others can avoid.

“You’d think for something so dangerous they would have more dumps available, so you wouldn’t have to truck it two hours one way,” Waterman said.

Zecca recommends that homeowners hire professionals to handle asbestos.

Residents looking for more information about disposal can call the Madison County Recycling Hotline at 1-800-721-2208 or click here to find details online.

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Landfill facing asbestos concerns during storm repairs in Madison County

Welcome to the asbestos houses

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Property data shows at least five have been sold during the 1990s.

They were put together in panel polystyrene blocks sandwiched between asbestos cement facings.

Mr Kelly discovered the danger when he was in the middle of renovating and a neighbour ran over shouting for him to stop.

Mr Kelly discovered the danger when he was in the middle of renovating and a neighbour ran over shouting for him to stop.

Resident Jay Kelly discovered what his house was made of after starting renovations. He paid $357,500 for the three-bedroom house in 2009.

The commercial refrigeration mechanic planned to renovate for a few years and build equity to invest into land at Michelago while keeping the house as an investment.

He says at no stage in the sales process was he informed it was made almost entirely of asbestos and he is now stuck with a worthless house that he won’t be able to sell and can’t afford to knock down.

“I’ve gone back hundreds of thousands of dollars,” Mr Kelly said.

The building report describes the construction as “fibre cement sheet clad sandwich panels over foam, with metal wall framing” but the composition was not listed as known.

Under ACT legislation vendors must provide an asbestos assessment report, if there is one, or generic advice on asbestos if there is not – this is what the young first home buyer received.

Despite the fact the government built the houses and allowed them to be sold, ACT authorities have told the owners it is up to them to fix the problem.

Mr Kelly discovered the danger when he was in the middle of renovating and a neighbour ran over shouting for him to stop.

He had already done internal work including sanding and repairing in preparation for repainting the pink walls.

Mr Kelly sent a sample of the house to the ACT Government Analytical Laboratory for testing where it was found to be bonded chrysotile asbestos.

This is the most common form of the substance in the ACT and it differs from the amosite loose-fill asbestos now plaguing thousands of the city’s residents.

The loose asbestos was pumped into ceilings as insulation and is always present in a dangerous form as microscopic fibres. Bonded chrysotile asbestos becomes dangerous when it is degraded or disturbed and fibres are released.

Another test by Robson Environmental showed the chrysotile asbestos to be in the internal walls, external walls, ceiling sheets, eaves sheets and joint cover strips.

“No renovation or repair may be carried out in this house if it involves drilling, screwing or sanding which may disturb asbestos containing materials,” it said.

The report also rated the internal house as being in good condition with no risk of exposure during normal building use.

But, Mr Kelly said, his house remains dangerous due in part to its poor design and lack of insulation which causes mould to constantly grow on all surfaces and leads to paint cracking because of the moisture.

He is continually repainting but cannot work on the house to improve the situation.

The other day he caught his partner’s young son sticking his finger into the hole in the wall where a towel rail had been pulled out.

“How do you teach an eight-year-old asbestos awareness?” he said.

Mr Kelly feels trapped in the house that he can’t do any work on and is angry that the advice he has been given from the government is not realistic.

He said his home does not contain a manageable amount of asbestos and if he was to remove the substance he would be left with only windows and a tin roof.

“I can’t just sell the house because I can’t pass it on to someone else,” he said.

“I can’t rent it out – who would live here with the mould.”

Mr Kelly and the other home owners want action on the matter, believing their health and financial security are under threat.

Do you know more? Email meredith.clisby@fairfaxmedia.com.au.











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Welcome to the asbestos houses

Asbestos removal 'overlooked'


Asbestos removal ‘overlooked’


Removal in cash settlements underfunded

CECILE MEIER

Last updated 08:58 12/06/2014

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The Earthquake Commission (EQC) might have underfunded potential asbestos removal in thousands of residential cash settlements, an earthquake contractor says.

Accredited Fletcher EQR contractor Warwick Joy said EQC should have warned homeowners about asbestos risks when issuing a payout for houses built between 1940 and 1990.

However, an EQC spokesman said this week that mandatory testing for homes built between 1940s and 1990s only applied to homes in the Canterbury Home Repair Programme (CHRP), not to cash settlements.

Joy said homeowners with cash settlements might decide to repair their property, potentially exposing themselves to asbestos.

He said he checked 2011 EQC assessment reports for friends and family who had been cash-settled. In both reports, work on high-risk materials was paid for, but no mention was made of the asbestos risk.

He estimated it would cost around $5000 to remove asbestos from his uncle’s house, and about $1500 from a friend’s.

Joy said this probable cost was not provided for in the cash settlement.

However, an EQC spokesman said the $100 cost of an asbestos test had been provided for in the cash settlement, even though there was no specific mention of it.

It was up to the builder hired to do the repairs to decide whether or not a test was needed.

“A margin is built in for a contractor to do preparatory work, including any asbestos testing if this is required,” he said.

If the test returned a positive asbestos result, the homeowner could provide a copy of the test certificate to EQC so their cash settlement figure could be reviewed if necessary.

Joy was concerned none of this information was provided to homeowners before a payout.

EQC said all this information could be found on its website.

EQC figures show more than 3000 homeowners have opted out of the CHRP this year alone, following changes in February to EQC’s opt-out scheme allowing claims where damage was assessed at over $15,000 to be cash-settled.

Joy said homeowners who had received a payout not covering asbestos testing and treatment should pay back EQC and opt into the Fletcher EQR programme to make sure asbestos would be safely taken care of.


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Asbestos removal 'overlooked'

Whitinsville builders penalized $37,625 for asbestos violations

BOSTON Town and Country Builders of Whitinsville and its owner, Denis Latour, were fined $37,625 by the state Department of Environmental Protection for failing to follow safe and legal asbestos removal procedures during a project in Uxbridge.

During a December 2012 inspection, DEP inspectors observed that Mr. Latour had improperly removed more than 100 linear feet of asbestos-containing pipe insulation from a multifamily residential property on Bouffard Street.

Numerous pieces of dry, friable asbestos-containing insulation were discovered uncontained on the basement floor of the property and also in an unmarked tarp lying outside in the yard. Also, inspectors found the asbestos insulation had not been wet, the work area had not been sealed off and air-filtration units were not used during the removal work as required, according to DEP.

DEP had also not been notified in advance of the asbestos removal project as required by state regulations.

Upon discovery, DEP required Mr. Latour to immediately retain the services of a state Department of Labor Standards-licensed asbestos contractor to properly handle, package and dispose of all the asbestos waste in the yard, and to clean up and decontaminate the basement and all affected areas of the property.

DEP regulations require notification to the agency in advance of an asbestos-removal project, as well as proper removal, handling, packaging, labeling, storage and disposal of asbestos waste materials. These critical measures prevent the release of and potential exposure to asbestos fibers, and warn of the health hazards associated with that type of waste material.

For these violations, DEP assessed a penalty of $37,625, but agreed to suspend $7,525 of that penalty provided the company does not have repeat violations for one year.

Craig S. Semon

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Whitinsville builders penalized $37,625 for asbestos violations

Hunting Point renters demand answers to asbestos contamination at their buildings

During four visits to the 63-year-old complex since the beginning of the year, EPA officials found crumbling asbestos in apartments, halls and trash areas where windows and floor tiles are being replaced. No notice of the danger was posted, the EPA said, and workers did not seal the area to protect residents. No certified supervisor was on the job, nor were workers certified in the task of removing hazardous materials. The EPA has ordered testing for airborne asbestos fibers.

The stop-work order is an unusual action by the EPA; only five a year are typically issued, and they rarely involve occupied apartment buildings, an EPA spokeswoman said.

The crowd of more than 100 that gathered at Alexandria’s Lee Center to hear the EPA’s explanations was angry and mistrustful of the buildings’ owners and contractors. Some responses offered by officials drew scoffs and catcalls.

“All the units should be sampled,” said resident Crystal Kilby, who is a nurse. “I live there. I don’t want my health compromised.”

“The thing I find most disconcerting is it was necessary for a resident to bring this to your attention,” Doug Meckes said. “I’d like to know where the town of Alexandria was.”

“This isn’t even negligence — this is recklessness,” said Stephanie Ackerman, who said she has been threatened with eviction for refusing to let contractors in her apartment to replace windows. Several parents testified that they worried about children who have crawled on or touched contaminated surfaces.

Steve Boyack, senior vice president of the Laramar Group, the part-owner that manages the complex, said the company had been unaware that the buildings had asbestos in them until the EPA’s stop-work notice arrived. Laramar immediately complied, he said, and will follow EPA regulations to resume work.

Residents have been complaining about the renovations, possible asbestos and lead-paint contamination and rising rents for the past year, ever since the two eight-story buildings were sold by the Virginia Department of Transportation for $81 million to Laramar and the investment fund Lubert-Adler. The residents say that the city failed to take their complaints seriously.

“Why, instead of responding to citizens and saving several months of exposure to asbestos and neurotoxins . . . why did you wait for the federal government to come in and do your job?” Chuck Benagh asked.

City inspectors who checked the plumbing work at Hunting Point last summer found no evidence of asbestos because there was no insulation around the pipes, said John Catlett, the city’s director of code enforcement.

The city did no other inspections because it lacks the authority, spokesman Craig Fifer said. He added that the city referred residents to state and federal authorities that can perform the inspections.

Other tenant complaints, lodged with the city’s landlord-tenant office, focused on a lack of notice given by workers who sought access to apartments. Tenants’ attempts to get the city to stop the construction failed; city officials said their hands were tied because of Virginia laws that favor property owners.

The tenants also have been fighting rent increases, which they fear will force them out of the high-rises and into a rental market where more than 12,000 affordable apartments have disappeared since 2000. Some, upset that they now must pay utilities in addition to rent, opted for the insecurity of month-to-month agreements rather than signing a long-term lease with a higher rent. They accused Laramar of trying to force them out.

“I realize that the owner has a right to improve the property and raise rents,” said Maurice Barboza, a tenant since 1995 whose rent for an efficiency apartment rose from $795 to $1,096 per month. “My problem is that these buildings are not yet in market-rate condition. They are substandard in the middle of major renovations.”

Boyack acknowledged that there have been rent increases but said the 100 to 150 people most affected had not had increases since 2002, when VDOT froze rents in consideration of the disruption caused by the construction of the adjacent Woodrow Wilson Bridge. Sixty-two percent of tenants renewed their leases in 2013, Boyack said.

“The intent is not to turn this into a new building,” Boyack said in an interview Friday. “It’s more geared toward making it . . . a decent, safe and affordable place to live.”

On Saturday, residents did not believe him.

“This is a sham!” some shouted from the audience. “One lie after another!”

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Hunting Point renters demand answers to asbestos contamination at their buildings

Asbestos Removal Continued

Asbestos Removal

Asbestos Removal

Asbestos Removal – Asbestos is a coarse like substance that is generally used in the construction of buildings, ships and motor vehicles. The material is extraordinarily resistant to high pressure, fire and steam and this is why it is suitable for the production of insulation components. It also possesses a dreaded element that makes it harmful to human beings and to animals and is the reason why asbestos removal is essential.

The global use of asbestos in the construction of homes and offices was quite acceptable until around the mid 80’s. If a home is to be either renovated or remodeled and was constructed around 1986, it is essential that an inspection is carried out before any engagement of the work occurs. The presence of asbestos should be established and then safe asbestos removal must be undertaken.

asbestos removal

The fact that asbestos is quite harmful to the environment makes its disposal quite difficult. When being disposed, asbestos must be placed in distinctive receptacles that must be secured to make them impenetrable and then they must be marked and then transported. During the process of asbestos abatement and the transportation of asbestos, the vehicles must also be marked with safety information to ensure that in the event of any unexpected mishaps, this knowledge can be used appropriately.

When you hire an asbestos abatement company, you should expect to be provided with exhaustive and integrated services. These services are composed of pre and post demolition asbestos inspection, a testing of the air, observation and quality control with a purpose of decreasing the effect of asbestos. It would be a good idea to find an asbestos removal company that can do the inspection, and then another that will undertake the asbestos removal process in order to prevent any conflict of interest.

asbestos removal

Asbestos removal companies also offer instructional courses that pat attention familiarity with asbestos problems and as well as its management. The fact that asbestos is a natural product means that it is not a danger to people. However, when asbestos is distributed and tiny and almost undetectable strands and asbestos particles fragments are discharged into the air.

When such particles are inhaled, they become a danger to people and this might result in lung cancer, asbestosis, mesothelioma and other types of malignancies. This generally becomes the grounds upon which expensive cases are brought before the courts. Asbestos abatement companies are professionals and removing such threats through safe methods.

The purpose of removing any asbestos hazards is so that expensive lawsuits are circumvented in future. This is more so if the property is to be converted into offices or will be used as a place of convergence for people in one way or the other. Ensuring that your property does not pose any threats that asbestos might bring about whether it’s a residential or commercial property is very important.

asbestos removal

When you contract an asbestos abatement company, they will send in experts to inspect your property. They will carry some samples which will be tested in laboratories that are designed specifically for this purpose. There are a number of samples that must be contained in these tests. The drywall, the water, the flooring, the soil and the house sliding will mostly be tested.

Buildings that were put up before the 1980’s are very likely to contain asbestos. Finding a company that is licensed to ensure that any components of asbestos are removed from the property will give you the piece of mind when you know that no lawsuits will be filed against you. It is also comforting to know that you or your family and friends will not be under threat of harm. If the asbestos is not removed immediately and safely, the costs of asbestos removal in the future will be exorbitant, not to mention that you might be under serious threat health wise and might have to face expensive lawsuits.

asbestos removal

Asbestos removal companies will come to your property and identify exactly where the asbestos is. They will then determine the best course of action for the removal of asbestos from your property. The process of asbestos removal is quite a challenge and only experts with essential training and the required equipment for asbestos removal can undertake the task. It is not just the removal of asbestos that is essential because asbestos must be disposed of in the proper manner.

If you are concerned about the presence of asbestos in your home and would like it to be removed in the proper manner, get in touch with at least three licensed and experienced experts, in order to obtain a range of quotes. They will undertake the entire process safely and efficaciously.

asbestos removal

Asbestos Removal

Asbestos Removal
Asbestos Removal

Asbestos linked to renovation boom



QUEENSLAND’S ombudsman has recommended a new department be set up to handle the problem of asbestos.

It comes as the state braces for an increase in asbestos-related diseases linked to the home-renovation boom.

A report tabled in State Parliament yesterday said any buildings built before 1990 in Queensland could contain asbestos but there was a lack of co-ordination and understanding about how to deal with it.

In one case outlined in the report, a woman who called her council about asbestos on a neighbour’s property in September 2011, received no response until her lawyer got involved six weeks later.

After more to-ing and fro-ing between agencies, resulting in a Workplace Health and Safety investigation, the distressed woman sold up and moved.

Ombudsman Phil Clarke identified confusion with housefire-related asbestos issues, including which agency was responsible for removing the material from neighbouring properties and who should pay for the clean-up.

The report highlighted a case at Maroochydore, in which a vacant, unfenced house with asbestos roof and fibro walls was severely damaged by fire.

Despite talks between Workplace Health and Safety, council and Queensland Health, no one could agree who was responsible for the Maroochydore site.

It took over a month for a fence to be erected, during which time members of the public – including children – entered the property and were potentially exposed to asbestos.

If breathed into the lungs, airborne asbestos fibres can cause asbestosis, lung, larynx and ovarian cancer, mesothelioma and other diseases affecting the linings around the lungs and stomach.

Asbestos-related diseases can take between 10 and 40 years to develop, and were responsible for 640 deaths in Australia in 2010.

The report said incidents of mesothelioma were expected to peak between 2013 and 2021.

“An increase in future incidences of mesothelioma from non-occupational exposure from home renovation has also been predicted,” the report noted.

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Asbestos linked to renovation boom

'Forgotten town' wants asbestos wasteland gone

For decades an asbestos wasteland has stretched across a South Australian town, yet the body responsible for cleaning it up is in no hurry to press the panic button, leaving locals despairing for their health.

The asbestos in the township of Terowie, 220 kilometres north of Adelaide, is not an illegal dump.

It is the property of the South Australian Government and yet there is no fence, no warning signs and no hurry to clean it up despite fears it could be blowing particles straight into a nearby playground and school.

Dave Perron came across the dump two years ago when he moved to Terowie.

“I walked down to the southern rail yards and saw just the massive asbestos down there,” he said.

“It blew me away that it had been there for so long and nobody had bothered to clean it up.

“The ground is just covered with broken up fragments of asbestos. It extends for well over 200 metres from the bottom of the southern platform to up at the cemetery.”

Mr Perron says the overall extent of the contamination stretches for up to three kilometres.

Forty-year-old roof sheeting and broken pieces now line a popular walking trail belonging to a camping site.

Residents like Mr Perron fear many pieces are so small and indiscernible, someone could easily walk on the asbestos and not realise the risk.

“I have young grandchildren who want to come over here and explore the buildings, the old train station and the old train line,” he said.

“To do that they have to walk on this asbestos. I won’t allow them here because I don’t want my grandchildren in 30 years time to be diagnosed with mesothelioma.”

Locals say Terowie has become a forgotten town.

It was once a bustling railway stop and important staging camp for allied forces during World War II.

Its most famous visitor, General Douglas MacArthur, came to Terowie in 1942 and declared “I shall return”.

He never did.

Terowie’s decline was sealed in the early 1970s when the train station was abandoned and dismantled leaving behind the asbestos wreckage.

Mr Perron says locals have long been concerned about the threat.

“People have been complaining about this for years and the State Government has just forgotten us. Terowie is a forgotten town,” he said.

Poisoned water

Terowie’s contamination concerns are not limited to asbestos.

Local MP Dan van Holst Pelikaan says the town’s water supply has high levels of lead and e-coli.

“Towns on the Barrier Highway from Terowie to Cockburn receive water from SA Water that is way, way below the quality that anybody else in the state would expect,” he said.

“In many cases you can’t drink it. We’ve actually uncovered cases where people have been told they can drink it if they boil it but it has unacceptable levels of lead in it.”

The water, which is pumped from a nearby dam through asbestos pipes, is four times more expensive than Adelaide’s supply but deemed unfit for human consumption, with tests often showing high levels of e-coli.

But not everyone is turning their back on Terowie.

Geoff Maul suffers from asbestosis after 27 years of exposure to the deadly dust.

He now spends much of his retirement fighting to clean up sites like the one in Terowie.

“I’ve never seen nothing like it. It’s totally disgraceful,” he said.

Residents say they have received assurances in the past from authorities that the asbestos pieces are safe and non-friable, which means they cannot be broken up or crumbled.

But at a town meeting, Mr Maul felt compelled to deliver a different message to locals.

“It’s sweeping it off, it’s vibrating like sand paper and it’s putting those asbestos fibres into the atmosphere that is coming over your town,” he said.

The Environmental Protection Authority and SA Environment Department issued statements telling 7.30 they are meeting later in the week but will not commit to a time frame for the clean-up.

It appears a 40-year-old problem is not going away any time soon.

For some, like local Donna, it is too much to cope with.

“It doesn’t matter what it is, whether it’s the water or the asbestos anything, they don’t care about Terowie,” she said.

“We’ve got the right to have water, we’ve got the right to breathe air that’s healthy and our kids to play without being sick.”

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'Forgotten town' wants asbestos wasteland gone