The Invercargill City Council is working with several agencies to address the issue of asbestos discovered at Ocean Beach, Bluff.
Following tests by Public Health South, it has been determined that coastal erosion has caused what could be a former landfill site to spill asbestos on to the foreshore beneath the old Ocean Beach Freezing Works site.
Council owns a small amount of land in the immediate area. The Department of Conservation also has land that is affected, and one other landowner may also be affected.
Council managers today agreed to engage contractors to ensure access to the beach is restricted, reducing the risk of public exposure to asbestos.
People are instructed to avoid the area until there is a better understanding of the issues and risks.
Council managers are working with a contractor to clean up the asbestos which is on the beach.
Enquiries about any specific risk to public safety should be directed to Public Health South or the Southern District Health Board.
Other agencies aware of and involved in managing this issue are Environment Southland and the Department of Conservation.
The priority for now is to restrict public access to the site, and clean up any asbestos present on the beach.
Investigations to determine any further contamination of land which may be at risk will continue.