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EPA Cites Contractor and School District for Asbestos Violation at Newville, Pa. High School

Release Date: 12/8/2004
Contact Information: Bonnie Smith, 215-814-5543

Bonnie Smith, 215-814-5543

PHILADELPHIA – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced that it has cited Power Component Systems, Inc. (PCS), a Hanover, Maryland-based asbestos removal contractor, and the Big Spring School District for violating Clean Air Act asbestos regulations during May 2004 renovations of the Big Spring High School in Newville, Pa.

EPA’s complaint proposes a $17,584 penalty for improper removal of asbestos-containing material during the school’s renovation, which involved the removal of about 82,000 square feet of asbestos-containing floor tile and 750 feet of asbestos-containing pipe insulation.

To reduce the risk of asbestos emissions, EPA’s regulations require that asbestos-containing materials that may release asbestos fibers during demolition or renovation must be adequately wetted during removal, and carefully handled to prevent unnecessary damage. These materials must remain adequately wetted, until securely bagged or otherwise treated to minimize asbestos emissions prior to disposal.

In a May 11, 2004 inspection of the renovation project at the school, an EPA inspector observed dry, crushed asbestos tile debris in the hallways and rooms of the high school. The inspector observed mechanical chipping machines at the facility, and noted that the floor tile had been subject to sanding, grinding, cutting and abrading during removal. The inspector also observed dry asbestos pipe insulation in bags in the school’s mechanical room.

Asbestos is a hazardous air pollutant that was once heavily used in insulation and other building materials. Prolonged exposure and inhalation of asbestos fibers can cause cancer and asbestosis, a serious respiratory disease. For more information on asbestos and its regulation, visit http://www.epa.gov/opptintr/asbestos/help.html.

The cited parties have the right to contest the alleged violations and proposed penalty.

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