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EPA and Colonial School District Settle Alleged Violations of Asbestos Inspection and Management Rules

Release Date: 10/26/2001
Contact Information: Bonnie Smith (215) 814-5543

Contact: Bonnie Smith (215) 814-5543

PHILADELPHIA – The Colonial School District has signed a consent agreement settling alleged violations of regulations on asbestos materials in schools, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today.

EPA cited the school district, which includes the public schools of Plymouth, Whitemarsh, and Conshohocken, for violating the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act, often referred to as AHERA, the federal law that requires schools to inspect and manage asbestos-containing building materials such as insulation, wall paneling, floor tiles that may potentially release asbestos fibers. NOTE: EPA cited the school for violations of AHERA inspection, record-keeping, and notification requirements. EPA did not allege that building occupants were exposed to releases of asbestos fibers.

According to EPA, Colonial School District violated AHERA regulations requiring each school to update and maintain its management plan for asbestos-containing materials, detailing procedures to prevent asbestos releases during any activity that may disturb these materials. EPA also cited the school district for failing to conduct required inspections of asbestos-containing materials in all of the buildings they own, use, or lease. In addition, the Colonial failed to notify parents, teachers, and staff of the availability of its management plan.

Under AHERA, penalties may be offset by the costs of bringing schools into compliance with the law. EPA’s proposed $11,000 penalty was offset by the district’s $15,550 expenditure in compliance costs.

This case grew out of the agency’s ongoing review of AHERA compliance of the public, private and parochial schools throughout the mid-Atlantic region.