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EPA Settlement Will Bring Yonkers Schools into Compliance with Asbestos Regulations

Release Date: 12/03/2004
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(#04178) NEW YORK, N.Y. -- Continuing its work to ensure that schools in New York are complying with asbestos regulations, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced that it has reached an agreement with the Yonkers Public Schools system requiring it to spend at least $131,000 to bring all of its 43 schools into compliance with EPA asbestos in schools rules by September 2005.

The Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (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. During inspections conducted in 2002 and 2003, EPA found AHERA violations, mostly record-keeping, at P.S. 13, the Mark Twain Middle School, the Martin Luther King School, P.S. 23 and the Yonkers Middle/High School. Inspectors were not provided the up-to-date asbestos management plans that the law requires be made available for EPA review. The case led to an evaluation of conditions in schools with asbestos-containing building materials by Yonkers Public Schools, conducted with EPA oversight.

"Parents, teachers and students should be able to focus on education and not have to wonder about conditions in their schools," said Jane M. Kenny, EPA Regional Administrator. "We have had excellent cooperation from Yonkers Public School system and this agreement will bring consistency and certainty across the school system."

The agreement announced today resolves the violations of federal asbestos regulations identified by EPA during its inspections. Under AHERA, money due as a penalty may be used to correct violations instead, so Yonkers Public School is using the $131,000 to fix any problems found at its 43 schools. EPA has worked and continues to work with the Yonkers Public Schools system to ensure that full compliance with AHERA regulations is achieved.

For general information about asbestos in school buildings, log onto our Web site at: http://www.epa.gov/asbestos/asbestos_in_schools.html