Marsden Park Waste Disposal
These are some of the chemicals often found on toxic sites around the state
Amosite (brown or grey)The harsh and heat resistant fibres of this kind were commonly found in insulation, such as the Mr Fluffy product used in some ACT homes.
Crocidolite (blue)This form of asbestos is regarded as one of the more dangerous, as its long, needle-like fibres are more likely to reach the lungs. It was mined in Australia until 1984.
Chrysotile (white)Australia's most common form of asbestos, its soft and flexible fibres were used in paint, brakelines and insulation. Sources: Asbestos Wise, Asbestos Taskforce ACT, the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency, Queensland Health
This is a two-part investigation that will be published on May 27 and May 28.
What lies beneath
The state’s long list of contaminated sites
The asbestos game
When piles of potentially deadly asbestos are dumped, who pays the price?
Misty Mountain, the neighbours called it: a hillock of 33, 000 tonnes of waste ridden with asbestos.
Sydney had only recently hosted the Olympic Games when the asbestos was dumped illegally behind a plant nursery in the city’s north-west, on land leased by local woman Misty Wilkie.
Kids from across the street played on top of the tip for years, one neighbour says.
Sixteen years after council found a problem, Misty Mountain is still there, a sign of a system that struggles to make polluters clean up or pay for the potentially deadly messes they leave behind.The locals call it Misty Mountain: 33, 000 tonnes of waste ridden with asbestos, illegally dumped in Marsden Park.
A Fairfax Media investigation has uncovered serious flaws in the response to the illegal dumping of asbestos as removal jobs boom in NSW.
Criminal operators stand to pocket huge sums by leaving their asbestos on vacant lots and city streets.
The fines handed to offenders may amount to small fractions of the profits they stand to make. Prosecutions are difficult and rare. The removalists’ association describes the punishments as “a joke”.
After avoiding jail in 2013, the state’s most notorious dumper, Dib Hanna, has continued to ditch hundreds of tonnes of asbestos-contaminated waste at Sydney properties.
The state’s most notorious dumper, Dib Hanna, avoided jail in 2013, but continued ditching asbestos-laden waste.
Another dumper, flouting court orders to clear 15, 900 tonnes of such waste, calls them “unenforceable.”
Meanwhile, the man responsible for Misty Mountain remains working in the waste industry, advertising asbestos removal.Craig Floyd began dumping waste at Marsden Park in late 2000.
Running a company called Graveyard Recycling, Craig Floyd began dumping refuse, including three types of asbestos, behind a Marsden Park plant nursery on Grange Avenue in late 2000.
One neighbour says calls to Blacktown City Council and the state government went nowhere. Residents eventually decided to line up in a human barrier across Floyd’s driveway.
“The kids and families, we just blocked the road like this and stopped the trucks coming, ” says the neighbour, who does not wish to be named.
A court assessment found clearing the site would have cost between $4 million and $26 million.
Floyd’s failure to undo his damage landed him in jail for two months for contempt of court in December 2002; further contempt proceedings dragged on for 13 years until Council abandoned them. Wilkie, who leased the land at the time, says she did not allow “one teaspoon” of waste onto the property, and the NSW Court of Appeal found she had no obligation to clear the site.
Mayor Stephen Bali says the stockpile of waste “may have posed some risk” to residents in the past but was now stable and covered in vegetation. Fairfax Media saw exposed sides when it visited.Today, Misty Mountain is covered in vegetation, but there are still signs of the waste it covers. Photo: Peter Rae
As for the report children had played across the asbestos-contaminated tip, Bali says council had heard no such complaint. “If so, the children would have been trespassing, ” he says.
Now, 16 years after committing his offence at Marsden Park, Floyd is still in the waste game and offering up his services as an asbestos removalist according to classified advertisements.
Residents formed a human barrier to stop Craig Floyd from dumping more waste at the Misty Mountain site.
The 44-year-old also promotes his Rubbish Removal Pty Ltd business under names such as Mr Skips and Rubbish Removal Manly on his personal Facebook page, alongside Ku Klux Klan imagery and family snaps.
“Rubbish Removal Manly has quickly become one of Australia's fastest ever growing rubbish removal companies by disrupting the dinosaurs, ” one of his websites says.
After he was contacted by Fairfax Media, Floyd initially said he would need to talk face to face, then failed to return calls and messages. A man answering his phone claimed not to know him, then claimed he was not available.