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Philly Public Schools to Undergo Voluntary Environmental Review

Release Date: 03/13/2007
Contact Information: Bonnie Smith, 215-814-5543, smith.bonnie@epa.gov

PHILADELPHIA -- The School District of Philadelphia is the first public school district in the nation to voluntarily sign up for a comprehensive environmental health check of its school buildings under an agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The Philadelphia school district will audit 62 of its schools for compliance with federal environmental regulations. In addition, all of the district’s facilities will be assessed for compliance with asbestos requirements. The agreement is part of a national initiative by EPA to ensure that schools, colleges and universities meet environmental regulations.

“By agreeing to self-police their environmental compliance, the Philadelphia public schools will reap positive benefits for students, teachers, and the environment,” said EPA Regional Administrator Donald S. Welsh. “Their commitment to correct any deficiencies they find will lead to healthier school environments across the city.”


"We are very grateful for the opportunity to work closely with the EPA on this very important agreement," said Paul G. Vallas, chief executive officer of the school district of Philadelphia. "The voluntary environmental review process provides us with the right set of incentives to quickly assess the environmental quality of our buildings and further invest in the improvement of our schools. We are very grateful to Donald Welsh and his leadership team."

Under this agreement, EPA will reduce or eliminate penalties for violations found during self-audits if they are disclosed, promptly corrected and steps are put in place to prevent recurrence. The school district has agreed to complete its asbestos audits within three years and complete the comprehensive audit of 62 schools within four years. EPA’s self-audit policy is available at http://www.epa.gov/compliance/incentives/auditing/auditpolicy.html.


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