EPA: 6 AZ school districts fined for asbestos violations - WNEM TV 5

EPA: 6 AZ school districts fined for asbestos violations

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SAN FRANCISCO (CBS5) -

Six Arizona school districts have been fined a total of $94,575 for asbestos violations, the EPA said Tuesday.

More than 15,000 children attend the 25 schools not in compliance with the federal Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act in these districts.

The inspections were conducted in 2011. Inspectors discovered numerous violations, including failing to inspect facilities for asbestos containing materials, failing to re-inspect campuses with known asbestos containing materials and failing to have an Asbestos Management Plan.

All of the school districts have since taken steps to comply with the law, with the cost of compliance reducing the penalties in most cases to zero, the EPA said.

"Asbestos in schools has the potential to harm the health of students, teachers, and maintenance workers," said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA's Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest.

Each school district is allowed to subtract properly documented costs of complying with the regulations from the penalty amount.

The six school districts are:

St. John's Unified School District in Apache County. It was fined $14,195. The penalty was reduced to $824 by the school district's cost of achieving compliance.·

Florence Unified School District in Pinal County. It was fined $31,705, but no cash payment was due because the documented costs of compliance exceeded the penalty.

Vernon Elementary School District in Apache County. It was fined $2,700, but no cash payment was due because the documented costs of compliance exceeded the penalty.

McNary Elementary School District on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation. It was fined $14,200, but no cash payment was due because the documented costs of compliance exceeded the penalty.

Round Valley Unified School District in Apache County. It was fined $10,100, but no cash payment was due because the documented costs of compliance exceeded the penalty.

Federal law requires schools to conduct an initial inspection using accredited inspectors to determine if asbestos-containing building material is present. They are then mandated to develop a management plan to address the asbestos materials found in the school buildings.

Schools are also required to appoint a designated person who is trained to oversee asbestos activities and ensure compliance with federal regulations.

Schools must also conduct periodic surveillance and re-inspections of asbestos-containing building material, properly train the maintenance and custodial staff and maintain records in the management plan.

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