Lake Macquarie City Council confirms presence of asbestos in Kilaben Bay pool structure pilings, but deems risk to swimmers 'very low'

VERY LOW RISK: The jetty and lake baths remain closed to the public while council finalises a remediation strategy. Picture: Supplied
VERY LOW RISK: The jetty and lake baths remain closed to the public while council finalises a remediation strategy. Picture: Supplied

TESTING has revealed the presence of asbestos in the pilings of the lake baths at Kilaben Bay, but Lake Macquarie City Council said it posed a very low risk to health.

The jetty and lake baths have been closed to the public since February.

Council called in a hygienist when "potentially contaminated materials" were suspected to have been used in the construction of the facility.

On Friday, council said the hygienist's inspection had been completed, and the results were in.

"Following a recent inspection and testing of the Kilaben Bay swimming enclosure, the presence of asbestos fibres has been confirmed in the pilings," a spokesperson for the council said.

"No hazardous materials were found in the jetty."

Locals have reported seeing people swimming in the lake, close to the pool structure, but outside the restricted zone.

Council said those swimmers weren't at risk.

"Due to the wet environment in which the pilings are located, the risk of fibres becoming airborne is extremely low," the spokesperson said.

"Swimmers aren't at risk by swimming in the lake near the facility, as long as the fibres remain wet.

"Water quality in Lake Macquarie remains the best it has been for decades."

Asbestos is a fibrous mineral that was once commonly used in a range of commercial, industrial and domestic products.

Asbestos can be hazardous when it is disturbed and airborne, as it is easily inhaled or ingested and can lead to health concerns, including lung cancer and mesothelioma.

Council is now working with specialists to finalise remediation options at the site.

"Until this advice is received, we cannot determine when the facility may be reopened or if the facility will require replacement," the spokesperson said.

Access to the swimming enclosure and the jetty's pilings remains restricted.

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