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EPA Partners With New Brunswick Public Schools To Boost Compliance With Federal Rules

Release Date: 11/9/2005
Contact Information:

FOR RELEASE: Wednesday, November 9, 2005

(#05134) NEW YORK, N.Y. ---
-In response to available public health statistics that demonstrate the presence of elevated blood lead levels in children in New Brunswick, New Jersey, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) made the city’s public school buildings the focus of its effort to improve compliance with relevant environmental regulations in New Brunswick. The Agency’s work with the school district is part of an EPA children’s health initiative that uses inspections, enforcement actions and a variety of compliance assistance tools to improve the environment. EPA has conducted similar children’s health initiatives in Newark and Paterson, New Jersey.

“Youngsters spend most of the day in school. Because they have a unique susceptibility to harm from environmental factors, extra protection is needed,” EPA Regional Administrator Alan J. Steinberg said. “As a result of EPA’s environmental review, the New Brunswick Public School District will make the environment in its schools even better for the students, faculty and workers.”

The Agency has established 20 parts per billion (ppb) in drinking water to pinpoint specific fountains and sinks that require remediation to help school officials identify any problems with lead in drinking water.

EPA monitoring of school drinking water fountains and sinks found lead levels above 20 parts per billion (ppb) in “first draw” samples at three taps in the NBSD Roosevelt School, three taps at the Lincoln School, four taps at the Woodrow Wilson School, one tap at the New Brunswick Livingston School, four taps at the McKinley School and five taps at the New Brunswick High School. Sampling levels dropped well below 20 ppb after the taps were allowed to run for a period of time. These results are consistent with EPA Region 2 findings from sampling at other school districts. The school district corrected these problems by replacing small pipes and connections. Until that work is completed, the taps have been taken out of service. No samples exceeded 20 ppb at the Lord Sterling School and the Alternate High School.

EPA has also reached an agreement with the New Brunswick Public School District under the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act, which requires that the penalties assessed for violations be used to correct the problems. The district is spending at least $39,000 to address the district’s asbestos violations that were discovered by EPA. EPA inspected and found violations at the Paul Robeson Community School Annex, the Lincoln Elementary School Annex, the McKinley Community School, the A. Chester Redshaw Elementary School and the New Brunswick High School. Examples of violations found in the school district include their failure to do the following:

    • Maintain and have available at each school a complete, updated copy of the asbestos management plan for that building
    • Notify parents, teachers and employee organizations in writing of the availability of asbestos management plans
    • Develop an operation and maintenance plan for buildings that may contain asbestos
    • Inspect each of school building to identify all locations of friable and nonfriable asbestos- contaminated materials
The district is in the process of complying with these requirements.

In addition to working with the school district, EPA reached out and inspected 22 New Brunswick real estate agencies, and visited several apartment complexes managers to evaluate compliance with the Agency’s lead-based paint disclosure requirements. EPA issued a complaint in June to the Renaissance Management Group for alleged violations at the Gardens at Raritan apartment complex. The results of six other inspections are still under review, and the remaining inspections did not identify significant violations of the lead-based paint disclosure requirements.

Call the National Lead Information Center at 1-800-424-LEAD to learn how to protect children from lead poisoning and for other information on lead via the web, visit . For general information about asbestos, visit For more general information, visit EPA’s Office of Children Health Protection at: Http://