Thursday, July 2nd, 2009.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has settled four cases in Maryland in an effort to ensure the safe management of asbestos-containing materials in schools.
In separate consent agreements with EPA, the Key School, Inc., Annapolis, Md., Trinity Episcopal Church’s day school, Glen Arm, Md., Immanuel Lutheran Church’s nursery school, Preston, Md., and the Hereford United Methodist Church’s Two by Two Preschool, Monkton, Md. have settled alleged violations of the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA), the federal law requiring schools to inspect and manage asbestos-containing building materials.
The AHERA violations the four individual schools were cited for include failing to prepare and submit an asbestos management plan, failing to include all school buildings in the management plan, failure to conduct reinspections of all friable and nonfriable asbestos every three years, and failure to provide annual notification of the management plan to parents, teachers, and employee organizations.
EPA did not find that students or other building occupants were exposed to asbestos as a result of the alleged violations. The schools that were cited have now certified their compliance with the AHERA requirements.
Under AHERA, EPA may agree to reduce or eliminate penalties due to the schools’ cooperation with EPA, compliance activities and expenditures. The four Maryland settlement agreements are:
- Based on a Maryland Department of the Environment inspection, the EPA cited the Key School, Annapolis, Md. for failing to incorporate several buildings in the school’s asbestos management plan and failed to maintain records of asbestos training provided to maintenance and custodial staff. The school has spent at least $5,015 to come into compliance, resulting in a zero cash penalty amount.
- Based on a Maryland Department of the Environment inspection at the Trinity Episcopal Church’s Day School, Glen Arm, Md., the EPA cited it for failure to conduct reinspections at least every three years, provide annual notification to parents and staff, include in the management plan information regarding asbestos containing material located at the school, failure to provide required asbestos safety training to maintenance and custodial staff and to ensure that the designated person was trained to carry out the duties. Trinity Episcopal Church has spent at least $1,500 to comply with AHERA regulations, resulting in a zero cash penalty amount.
- Based on a Maryland Department of the Environment inspection at the Immanuel Lutheran Church’s Nursery School, Preston, Md., EPA cited it for failing to prepare and submit an asbestos management plan, failing to reinspect the school building every three years and conduct periodic surveillance at least every six months, failure to provide annual notification to parents and staff, failure to train the designated person and provide asbestos safety training to custodial and maintenance staff. Immanuel Lutheran Church spent at least $1,345 to comply with AHERA regulations, resulting in a zero cash penalty amount.
- EPA inspected Hereford United Methodist Church’s Two by Two Preschool, Monkton, Md., and cited it for failing to prepare and submit an asbestos management plan, failure to conduct a reinspection at least once every three years and conduct periodic surveillance at least every six months, and failure to provide asbestos safety training to custodial and maintenance staff. The school has spent $7,146 to come into compliance, resulting in a zero cash penalty amount.
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 www.epa.gov/asbestos/pubs/asbestos_in_schools.html.
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