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EPA Settlement Will Bring Newark Schools into Compliance With Asbestos Regulations

Release Date: 01/20/2005
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FOR RELEASE: Thursday, January 20, 2005
#05004) NEW YORK, N.Y. -- Continuing its work to ensure that schools in New Jersey are complying with asbestos regulations, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced that it has reached a settlement with the Newark Public Schools to resolve violations of the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA). The agreement requires the school system to spend $2.25 million to finish identifying and fixing any asbestos-related problems that may exist in the schools.

"EPA has been working with the Newark Public Schools over the past several months to help them manage asbestos in schools properly," said Kathleen C. Callahan, Acting EPA Regional Administrator. "The penalty money will go to good use it will be used by the school system to correct the violations."

Prior to the beginning of the school year, EPA worked with the Newark Public Schools to ensure that the school system conducted visual evaluations of approximately 80 schools with asbestos-containing materials to identify damaged building material and repair or isolate areas where damaged material was found. Newark Public Schools notified parents, teachers and school employees about the potential risk posed by asbestos.

Under the settlement announced today, the Newark Public Schools will submit a plan to EPA and the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services that identifies at least one person in each school who will be trained on AHERA requirements. In addition, the school system will submit a complete list to EPA of all its school building inspections by April of this year. It will conduct all other required inspections, such as those required on a semiannual and triennial basis, develop management plans for all schools, develop an operations and maintenance plan and keep all proper records of all activities at all schools. The settlement lays out a payment plan in which NPS has budgeted the amount of money needed to fund the work.

AHERA requires local educational authorities to inspect all school buildings for visible damage; develop and implement asbestos-management plans; and keep the public, students and teachers informed about asbestos related hazards. The Clean Air Act dictates how asbestos should be removed. It requires that the materials be kept wet at all times, that areas being disturbed be sealed off and that all materials that are removed be properly stored so that asbestos does not become airborne.

Related Links:
AHERA Tools and Publications
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