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COATESVILLE AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT SETTLES ASBESTOS CASE - District to Pay $3,000 Penalty, Spend Over $100,000 on Asbestos Removal

Release Date: 12/29/1998
Contact Information: Ruth Podems (215) 814-5540

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that the Coatesville Area School District has settled an administrative complaint over improper removal of asbestos-containing floor tile at the Caln Elementary School in Thorndale, Chester County, Pa.

Under the terms of the December 22, 1998 settlement, the school district has agreed to pay a $3,000 penalty, and complete $101,266 in asbestos removal activities at the Gordon Junior High School in Coatesville, Pa., another school in the district.

In its January 27, 1998 administrative complaint, EPA alleged that the school district violated the Clean Air Act by failing to: 1) notify EPA it was removing asbestos tile; 2) adequately wet asbestos debris during removal and storage of approximately 240 square feet of floor tile; 3) adequately monitor air emissions; and 4) provide workers with protective clothing and safe areas.

The school was closed during the tile removal activities on March 24 and 25, 1997.  After EPA’s March 26, 1997  inspection, school officials arranged for a cleanup of the room and adjoining hallway.  Air monitoring on March  28 and April 4, 1997 confirmed no detectible asbestos levels in the affected areas of the building.  The cleanup was completed on April 4, 1997 by a certified asbestos contractor.

Asbestos is a hazardous air pollutant that was once used in insulation and other building materials.  Exposure and inhalation of asbestos fibers can cause cancer and asbestosis, a serious respiratory disease.

To reduce the risk of asbestos emissions, EPA’s regulations require that asbestos-containing materials that may release asbestos fibers during demolition or renovation must be adequately wetted during removal.  These materials must remain adequately wetted, or be securely bagged, or otherwise treated to minimize asbestos emissions until disposal.