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EPA fines six Arizona charter school operators for asbestos violations Schools failed to have inspections completed and asbestos management plans

Release Date: 09/30/2008
Contact Information: Dean Higuchi, 808-541-2711, higuchi.dean@epa.gov

(09/30/08) SAN FRANCISCO -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently fined six Arizona charter school operators a combined total of $11,600 for Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act violations.

In April 2007, EPA inspectors discovered that all but one of the school operators failed to conduct inspections to determine if asbestos-containing material was present in school buildings and all had failed to develop asbestos management plans. The schools have since completed inspections or otherwise obtained the appropriate documentation to establish that no asbestos-containing material is present in their school buildings. All of the schools have developed asbestos management plans.

“All schools, including charter schools, need to conduct asbestos inspections and have asbestos management plans,” said Katherine Taylor, associate director for the Communities and Ecosystems Division in EPA’s Pacific Southwest region. “Asbestos in schools has the potential for endangering the health of students, teachers, and others, including maintenance workers.”

The schools are:

* Valley Academy: The operator Valley Academy, Inc. was fined $2,400.
* Paradise Education Center: The operator, Paragon Management, Inc. was fined $2,100.
* Horizon Community Learning Center: The operator Horizon Community Learning Center, Inc. was fined $2,100.
* Happy Valley School: The operator Happy Valley School, Inc. was fined $2,100.
* Edu-Prize Charter School: The operator Edu-Prize, Inc. was fined $2,100.
* Challenge School: The operator Challenge School, Inc. was fined $800.

Federal law requires schools to conduct an initial inspection using accredited inspectors to determine if asbestos-containing building material is present and develop a management plan to address the asbestos materials found in the school buildings. In certain circumstances, an inspection is not required if the school has a signed statement from the architect or builder stating that a new building was constructed with no asbestos-containing materials.

All six schools established that no asbestos-containing materials were used in their school buildings. Schools that do not contain asbestos-containing material must still develop a management plan that identifies a designated person and includes the architect’s statement or building inspection and the annual notification to parents, teachers, and employees regarding the availability of the plan.

The EPA’s rules also require the school to appoint a designated person who is trained to oversee asbestos activities and ensure compliance with federal regulations. Finally, schools must conduct periodic surveillance and re-inspections, properly train the maintenance and custodial staff, and maintain records in the management plan.

Local education agencies must keep an updated copy of the management plan in their administrative office and at the school, which must be made available for inspection by parents, teachers, and the general public.

For on asbestos in schools visit: http://www.epa.gov/asbestos/pubs/asbestos_in_schools.html
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