ASBESTOS has been found in the soil beneath Mullumbimby Hospital, Northern Rivers health boss Chris Crawford has announced.
In a statement released a few minutes ago, Mr Crawford said he was told today by an industrial hygienist monitoring air quality at the site about the new source of asbestors.
The presence of asbestos in the Mullum hospital building has always been known about. However, this is the first evidence of asbestos at the hospital outside of specific areas.
The industrial hygienist that made the new discovery was there as part of a team the Northern NSW Local Health District had brought in to clean-up asbestos at the hospital as part of an effort to keep it operational until the new Byron Shire Central Hospital at Ewingsdale was built.
Under that work, Mr Crawford said the hospital's emergency department would have to be moved to another part of the hospital for three weeks, starting November 14.
"We expect to have the Hygienists report this afternoon, which will identify what remedial action needs to be taken (about the new asbestos discovery)," Mr Crawford said.
"As this new source is in the soil, it poses no threat unless disturbed and the area has been cordoned off.
"This afternoon Hospital and Community Health Staff have been briefed on the process of inspection, testing and remediation action.
"The NNSWLHD will be investing further significant funds to have the asbestos remediated at the Mullumbimby Hospital, as it intends to keep the Hospital open and operating, and importantly, it wants to ensure a safe workplace for our staff, patients and visitors."