Water Corporation employees and contractors who worked on a recent project to refurbish Minnivale Reservoir, 155 kilometres north-east of Perth, have been informed that they were exposed to Chrysotile, or white asbestos.

Since completion of the project we have identified sheeting on the fascia of the reservoir and sealant between concrete floor panels contained white asbestos. This type of material typically has less than 10 per cent asbestos content. 

An independent asbestos expert has identified that potential levels of airborne fibres would likely to have been low.   

Quote from Chief Executive Officer Sue Murphy:

I sincerely apologise to everyone affected and for the concern this news will no doubt cause. We are treating this issue with the highest priority as part of our commitment to the safety and welfare of our employees and contractors.  

I have ordered a full investigation into the circumstances of the potential exposure to ensure we prevent this situation from happening again. 

Water Corporation is in the process of contacting everyone who visited or undertook work at the site, with the help of its external contractors.   They have been invited to attend awareness sessions where they can meet with experts to discuss the potential health impacts of asbestos and be advised on the next steps.

Water Corporation has notified the appropriate regulatory authorities including WorkSafe, Department of Health and Department of Environment and Regulation.

There is no risk to the drinking water supply or the local community.

While the investigation is still at an early stage, it appears that during the final phase of project design, the Minnivale reservoir was added to Water Corporation’s Asbestos Register. Regrettably this was not communicated to the project team, the contractors or subcontractors before work began.

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