A SPORTS field believed to contain asbestos was used by Canley Vale High School students as recently as last week although the hazard was found and left embedded in the ground for a month.
The site, on the corner of Ada and Togil streets, acquired by the NSW Department of Education and Communities in 2010, was still polluted with the suspicious material when the Champion visited on February 5.
The finding of cement-based debris believed to contain asbestos was reported to Fairfield City Council on January 15.
The material was finally removed on February 7 and is currently being tested.
A staff member at the school confirmed they knew nothing about the material and that students had been using the sporting field a "fair bit" since the term began two weeks ago.
The waste-enforcement officer removed about two square metres of fibre-cement sheeting from the site which they cordoned off on January 15, the council said.
The hazard was not cordoned off last week.
The council said they alerted the NSW Department of Education and Communities on January 18 "as it falls under their jurisdiction".
The Environment Protection Authority was notified on January 21.
"On February 8 the council was contacted by a representative of the EPA who informed the council this matter was being investigated," the spokesperson said.
But a department spokesperson said neither the principal nor the South Western Sydney Region Asset Management Unit officer had been notified. "The officer attended the high school on February 7 after a report that rubbish had been dumped near the sports field," the spokesperson said.
The officer said they found the material during the inspection on February 7.
"As a precaution, arrangements have been made to fence off both areas on February 7 to prevent access by students and residents who also use the sports field," the spokesperson said.
A contractor from NSW Public Works picked up the material after school hours that day.
NSW Public Works also conducted an air-quality testing and a clearance certificate was issued on Monday, February 11.
The fence is due to be removed shortly.