November 9, 2017
To: All Employees
In 1986, Congress passed the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA). That law requires all schools, kindergarten through twelfth grade, to be inspected for asbestos-containing building materials. AHERA also requires annual notification of organized parent groups and employees of the presence of asbestos and of all related activities scheduled by the school district.
In the past, asbestos was used extensively in building materials because of its insulating and fire retarding capabilities. Virtually any building built before the late 1970’s contains at least some asbestos in pipe insulation and structural fire proofing. We too have buildings that contain asbestos materials. The primary concern arises when these materials begin to deteriorate or become damaged.
In January 1988, the Fairfield Area School District contracted with Hall-Kimbrell Environmental Services to bring our schools into compliance with the AHERA regulations.
Soon thereafter, our schools were inspected in accordance with the AHERA regulations by EPA-accredited Hall-Kimbrell inspectors. Samples of the suspected materials were taken and analyzed at the firm’s EPA-accredited laboratory. Based upon those findings, a Management Plan was written which outlines our intent in controlling and abating any asbestos-containing materials. The Management Plan has been submitted to the Governor’s office, as required by law, and has subsequently been approved.
The Management Plan included an Operations and Maintenance Program developed for our schools. This program is the primary foundation by which we will control exposure to any asbestos-containing materials through a systematic schedule of monitoring, employee training, record keeping and periodic reinspection. Our maintenance and custodial personnel receive special training to qualify them to conduct their routine activities around asbestos and to monitor the condition of the materials. Additionally, we are required by law to conduct a survey of any remaining asbestos containing materials every three years using an outside contractor, licensed by the EPA. Our last inspection was completed on August 7, 2016 by Compliance Management International CMI).
In accordance with our Management Plan, the district undertook an asbestos abatement project in July 1990 to remove asbestos from areas where potential damage and fiber release might occur. This project centered in pipe chase areas beneath the floor, insulation around the boiler, and pipe insulation in the cold storage area of the cafeteria.
In addition, in July 1996, the district began a two-phase abatement project that removed any materials that may have been disturbed during the building project. Asbestos removed during Phase I consisted of ceiling tile in the elementary school and approximately 50% of the floor tile and mastic in the high school/middle school. Phase II began at the end of the school year and included removal of the remaining floor tile and mastic and the boiler room ceiling in the high school/middle school and floor tile and mastic in the elementary school. All removal of asbestos containing material was carried out using only licensed abatement contractors and strictly monitored by an environmental consultant following guidelines set by U.S. EPA.
Currently, the school district has asbestos containing materials present in the following areas:
- Thermal insulation on steam pipes in the pipe chases that have been made inaccessible for entry.
- Transite (a hard solid material) roof decking above the suspended ceilings in the 1950 wing of the high school.
- Floor tile in the 1970 portion of the elementary school that have been covered with carpet.
- Transite siding on the exterior of the elementary school.
The remaining asbestos containing materials will be monitored and systematically managed in accordance with the AHERA regulations. The required semi-annual surveillance of these materials is conducted in January and July of each year.
All materials used in the most recent elementary and middle school/high school building project have been certified asbestos free.
Concentrations of asbestos fibers in buildings are generally lower (10,000 times) than those levels reported in asbestos industry work places, which have been linked to disease among workers. The mere presence of asbestos in a building does not necessarily pose a hazard. Research indicates that unless asbestos is disturbed, allowing fibers to become entrained into the air, the potential health consequences appear to be negligible. However, our concern is to control the potential for asbestos to be disturbed in our schools.
Copies of the Management Plan and the Three-Year Reinspection Report are on file for your review in the district business office and also in the maintenance office at 4840 Fairfield Road, Fairfield, Pa. 17320. Questions regarding our Management Plan should be directed to Mr. Harold N. Kessel, Director of Buildings and Grounds. Mr. Kessel has been licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry as the school district Asbestos Coordinator.
Harold N. Kessel