Keene, N.H. School Pays Fine for Asbestos Violations
Release Date: 10/21/2010
Contact Information: Paula Ballentine, (617) 918-1027
(Boston, Mass. – Oct. 21, 2010) - A private school in Keene, N.H. will pay a cash penalty and make changes in its operations to settle EPA claims that it violated federal asbestos management laws.
According to EPA, officials from the Monadnock Waldorf School did not develop appropriate asbestos management plans or properly notify the school community about the condition of asbestos within the two buildings they occupy, violating the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA), a part of the federal Toxic Substances Control Act. Monadnock operates its administration office and an elementary school at one location in Keene, and has a nursery school and kindergarten at another location. EPA learned of the violations during a May 2008 inspection that is part of an ongoing effort to get schools in New England to come into compliance with asbestos management regulations.
Specifically, EPA found that Monadnock failed to develop asbestos management plans and failed to provide written notification to parents, teachers, and employee organizations of the availability of such plans on an annual basis. Under the settlement, Monadnock’s penalty, initially set at $12,573, was reduced by $3,906 for work the school completed after EPA’s 2008 inspection to come into compliance with asbestos regulations. In addition, Monadnock will conduct more work, estimated to cost $7,200, to address compliance issues in the future. Monadnock has paid the remaining $1,467 as a monetary penalty. AHERA allows EPA to deduct the cost of compliance from the penalty.
Although the Monadnock Waldorf School had performed asbestos abatement work in the past, and may have believed that its school buildings were asbestos free, historical data indicates that small amounts of asbestos-containing building materials may still be found at the school. AHERA requires schools to properly manage any asbestos-containing materials present in school buildings.
Asbestos management laws are meant to protect people attending, working at or visiting public buildings from the hazards of asbestos. The law requires school administrators to identify asbestos-containing materials in public and private elementary and secondary schools. The local agencies must develop asbestos management plans and implement those plans in a timely manner, taking preventative measures against the release of asbestos fibers. The law also requires schools to survey asbestos-containing materials, conduct periodic inspections of these materials, train personnel on asbestos laws, and make the plans available to the public on a yearly basis so that teachers and families can be kept informed about the location and condition of asbestos in their schools.
Inspections over recent years of schools in New England by EPA underscore the need for school districts to be vigilant in protecting students’ health by following asbestos management requirements. Typical violations include failure to maintain updated, complete asbestos management plans; failure to conduct periodic inspections and failure to train custodial and maintenance personnel. When EPA has taken action, the “notices of non-compliance” have required the schools to submit corrective action plans within 30 days.
- Enforcing Asbestos requirements in New England (http://www.epa.gov/region1/enforcement/asbestos/index.html)
- Asbestos in schools (http://www.epa.gov/asbestos/pubs/asbestos_in_schools.html)
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