EPA fines Arizona company $18,500 for asbestos school violations
Release Date: 05/15/2008
Contact Information: Dean Higuchi, 808-541-2711, firstname.lastname@example.org
(05/15/08) SAN FRANCISCO -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently fined Portable Practical Education Preparation, Inc., $18,500 for alleged violations of the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act.
The company holds charters for 12 Arizona charter schools. Arizona Charter schools are public, state-funded schools constituted within the state of Arizona.
In May 2006, the EPA inspected the Celestino Fernandez Learning Center and found that the school was unable to present an asbestos management plan. The EPA found PPEP had not conducted inspections nor had asbestos management plans for some of its schools. The Alice S. Paul school, which had an asbestos management plan, was not re-inspected within the three year time frame required by federal law.
“Organizations responsible for charter schools need to understand their facilities must meet all of the federal asbestos in schools requirements, as failure to do so can result in penalties,” said Katherine Taylor, associate director for the Communities and Ecosystems Division in the EPA’s Pacific Southwest region. “Asbestos can potentially endanger the health of students, teachers, and maintenance workers at schools, so we are pleased the PPEP charter schools have now conducted inspections and its asbestos management plans are in place.”
In August, 2006, accredited inspectors conducted asbestos inspections at “Lito” Pena Learning Center, Manuel Bojorquez Learning Center, Raul H. Castro Learning Center, Cesar Chavez Learning Center, Jose Yepez Learning Center, Celestino Fernandez Learning Center, John David Arnold Learning Center, Victor Soltero Learning Center, Eugene Lopez Learning Center, and Robles Junction Learning Center.
The Raul H. Castro Learning Center and the Celestino Fernandez Learning Center were each found to have about 600 square feet of asbestos containing building materials, while about 500 square feet of asbestos containing building materials was found at the Manuel Bojorquez Learning Center. No asbestos was found at the other schools. Management plans for each of these schools were prepared in August 2006.
PPEP also holds the charter for the Arizona Virtual Academy, where an asbestos inspection was conducted on August 7 and 9, 2007. No asbestos was found. Management plans for the two locations of the Arizona Virtual Academy offices were prepared in September 2007.
Federal law requires schools to conduct an initial inspection using accredited inspectors to determine if asbestos-containing building material is present, and develop a management plan to address asbestos materials found in school buildings.
Schools that do not contain asbestos-containing material must still develop a management plan that identifies a designated person, and includes an architect’s statement or building inspection, and the annual notification to parents, teachers, and employees regarding the availability of the plan.
The EPA’s rules also require the school to appoint a designated person who is trained to oversee asbestos activities and ensure the school complies with federal regulations. Finally, schools must conduct periodic surveillance and re-inspections, properly train maintenance and custodial staff, and maintain records in the management plan.
Local education agencies must keep an updated copy of the management plan in its administrative office and at the school, which must be made available for inspection by parents, teachers and the general public.
For more on asbestos in schools visit: http://www.epa.gov/asbestos/pubs/asbestos_in_schools.html