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Asbestos Management Violations Settled at Two Maryland Schools
Release Date: 03/12/2009
Contact Information: Donna Heron 215-814-5113 / firstname.lastname@example.org
PHILADELPHIA (March 12, 2009) – Owners of the school buildings for the Grace Cooperative Nursery in Aberdeen, Md. and the Maryland School for the Blind in Baltimore, Md. have recently settled violations of a federal law on the management of asbestos materials in school buildings, the mid-Atlantic office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today.
The Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) requires owners and operators of buildings in which private non-profit schools are operated to develop a management plan for asbestos-containing materials, detailing procedures to prevent asbestos releases. The management plan must be available at the school, with annual notification to parent, teacher and employee organizations of the plan and any asbestos abatement activities. Schools must train personnel on AHERA compliance, and conduct inspections and periodic surveillance of asbestos-containing materials.
The settlements announced today resolved alleged AHERA violations at the schools for which EPA assessed penalties. The school building owners, Grace United Methodist Church and Maryland School for the Blind, have certified that non-penalty AHERA violations also discovered at the respective schools have been corrected. Consistent with the law, EPA has reduced potential penalties because of the expenditures for AHERA compliance. As part of the settlements, neither Grace United Methodist Church nor Maryland School for the Blind admitted nor denied the alleged violations, but have certified compliance with applicable AHERA requirements. NOTE: These violations involve precautionary inspection, recordkeeping and notification requirements. EPA does not allege that students or other building occupants were exposed to asbestos as a result of these violations.
At the Maryland School for the Blind, a 2007 inspection, conducted by the Maryland Department of the Environment, resulted in several findings of violations, including three that involved the assessment of penalties: failing to reinspect all areas containing asbestos in each school building at least once every three years, failing to annually notify in writing parent, teacher, and employee organizations of the availability of the asbestos management plan, and failing to include the school’s Russo Art Center in the school management plan. Penalty: none after the expenditure of $7,089 in AHERA compliance costs.
At the Grace Cooperative Nursery School, an inspection conducted in 2007 by the Maryland Department of the Environment, resulted in several findings of violations, including two that involved the assessment of penalties: failing to reinspect all areas containing asbestos in each school building at least once every three years, and failing to include pertinent information in the required asbestos management plan such as a plan for reinspection and recommendations to the local environmental agency regarding emergency response actions. Penalty: $4,525 after the expenditure of $1,000 in AHERA compliance costs.
The settlements announced today are part of EPA’s ongoing efforts to work throughout the mid-Atlantic states to reduce asbestos hazards in schools. EPA offers compliance assistance for public, private, charter and parochial schools, and has conducted outreach at educational conferences.
For more information on the regulation of asbestos in schools, visit www.epa.gov/oppt/asbestos/pubs/asbestos_in_schools.html