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Region 3 News Release
News Release
  • For Immediate Release: February 10, 2000
  • FIVE SCHOOLS IN DELAWARE CITED FOR VIOLATING ASBESTOS RULES
    Ruth Podems, 215-814-5540

    PHILADELPHIA--- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued administrative complaints against five public and private schools in Delaware for violating federal inspection and recordkeeping regulations on asbestos materials in school buildings, EPA announced today.

    The schools were cited for failing to take required proactive steps designed to reduce the risk of asbestos exposure to building occupants. EPA does not allege that there have been actual releases of asbestos fibers in these schools.

    EPA’s mid-Atlantic office in Philadelphia has issued administrative complaints against the owners of the Albert Einstein Academy, a private secondary school in Wilmington; Hockessin Montessori School in Hockessin; John Dickinson High School, a public school in Wilmington’s Red Clay Consolidated School District; Tall Oaks Classical School, a private secondary school in Hockessin; and William Penn High School, a public school in New Castle’s Colonial School District.

    The complaints allege violations of the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act, or "AHERA," the federal law that requires schools to inspect and manage asbestos-containing building materials (such as insulation, wall paneling, floor tiles) that may potentially release asbestos fibers. EPA has cited these schools for violating AHERA regulations on inspections, reporting, and asbestos management plans.

    AHERA requires schools to develop a "management plan" for asbestos-containing materials, detailing procedures to prevent asbestos releases during any activity that may disturb these materials. The management plan must be available to faculty, staff, parents, or other parties interested in the school’s efforts to minimize asbestos hazards. Schools must designate a person trained in asbestos regulations to be responsible for implementing the management plannd ensuring regulatory compliance. The law also requires schools to conduct surveys of asbestos-containing materials in their schools, conduct follow up inspections every three years and conduct twice-yearly surveillance of these materials. The schools must also notify parents, teachers and employees every school year about the availability of AHERA management plans.
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    The violations cited in EPA’s complaints are as follows:

    Albert Einstein Academy: A May 1999 inspection revealed that the school had failed to conduct the required initial inspection of asbestos-containing building materials, failed to maintain an updated asbestos management plan, and failed to provide annual notice of its AHERA management plan to parents, teachers and employees. (School officials have since notified EPA that the school has now complied with the inspection and management plan regulations.)

    Hockessin Montessori School: An April 1999 inspection revealed that the school had failed to conduct the required initial inspection of asbestos-containing building materials, failed to maintain an updated asbestos management plan, and failed to provide annual notice of its AHERA management plan to parents, teachers and employees.

    John Dickinson High School: A May 1999 inspection revealed that the school had failed to maintain a complete and updated asbestos management plan.

    Tall Oaks Classical School: A June 1999 inspection revealed that the school had failed to conduct the required initial inspection of asbestos-containing building materials, failed to maintain an updated asbestos management plan, and failed to provide annual notice of its AHERA management plan to parents, teachers and employees. (After issuance of the complaint, the school reported that it has an architect's certification that no asbestos-containing materials were specified in the building construction plans. However, the certification has not yet been provided to EPA, and was not included in management plan documents at the time of EPA's inspection, as required under AHERA regulations.)

    William Penn High School: A May 1999 inspection revealed that the school had failed to maintain an updated asbestos management plan.

    EPA proposes a $3,300 penalty against John Dickinson High School, a $4,400 penalty against William Penn High School, and $5,500 penalty against Albert Einstein Academy, Hockessin Montessori School, and Tall Oaks Classical School. Schools may offset penalty assessments under AHERA with the costs of bringing their facilities into compliance with the law. The schools have the right to a hearing to contest the alleged violations and proposed penalties.

    These actions grew out of the agency’s ongoing review of AHERA compliance of the public, private and parochial schools throughout the mid-Atlantic region.



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