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Asbestos Management Violations Settled at Bucks County School District
Release Date: 06/02/2009
Contact Information: Donna Heron 215-814-5113 / firstname.lastname@example.org
PHILADELPHIA (June 2, 2009) – The Council Rock School District has recently settled violations of a federal law on the management of asbestos materials at Council Rock South High School, 2002 Rock Way, Holland, Pa., and Rolling Hills Elementary School, 340 Middle Holland Road, Holland, Pa., the mid-Atlantic office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today.
The Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) requires local education agencies such as the Council Rock School District to develop a management plan for asbestos-containing materials, detailing procedures to prevent asbestos release, for each building used as a school building. The management plans must be available at each school, with annual notification to parent, teacher and employee organizations of the plan and any asbestos abatement activities.
During an April 2008 inspection, EPA found that Council Rock South High School did not have a management plan and at the Rolling Hills Elementary School, a complete and updated copy of the management plan was not available. Additionally, the Council Rock School District failed to annually notify in writing parent, teacher, and employee organizations of the availability of the management plans for each of the facilities.
A management plan helps prevent exposure to asbestos by ensuring that any maintenance or other routine school activities will not result in the disturbance of asbestos. In addition, whenever asbestos needs to be disturbed, only accredited persons are to be used by the school. Annual notification on the availability of the management plan allows parents, teachers and employee organizations the opportunity for reviewing all information regarding asbestos in the school.
The EPA calculated the civil penalty to be $16,483. Since the school district spent $216,528 to come into compliance, there is a zero penalty amount.
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.
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.
Asbestos was once widely used in building materials due to its insulation and fire retardant properties. Damaged or disturbed asbestos may release fibers which, if inhaled, create a risk of asbestosis, lung cancer, and other respiratory illnesses. However, intact, undisturbed asbestos materials generally do not pose a health risk, if managed in accordance with AHERA safeguards. For general information about asbestos and its regulation, visit www.epa.gov/asbestos Information on asbestos in schools is available at https://www.epa.gov/asbestos/pubs/asbestos_in_schools.html.