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In separate consent agreements, the schools have settled alleged violations of the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA), the federal law requiring schools to inspect and manage asbestos-containing building materials.
The results of these cases arose from inspections of 137 schools, and the agreements will bring 1,019 schools into compliance. The districts involved in the settlement are the:
* Catholic Archdiocese of Washington, D.C.
* Baltimore City School System
* Baltimore County School System
* Harford (Md.) County Public Schools
* Chesterfield (Va.) County School District
* Norfolk (Va.) County Public Schools
* Diocese of Allentown, Penn.
* Diocese of Scranton, Penn.
* Philadelphia School District
* Edsys Inc., which manages the City Charter School in Pittsburgh.
The EPA cited the Baltimore City and County school systems for: failing to maintain complete, updated asbestos management plans; failing to notify parents, teachers, and employees of the availability of the management plans; failing to conduct required surveillance and inspections of asbestos-containing materials; failing to conduct required employee training; and other AHERA recordkeeping violations.
The settlements with both the Baltimore City and Baltimore County school systems come with no penalty, in light of these parties' cooperation with EPA and AHERA compliance activities. The Baltimore City and County schools each documented more than $109,000 in AHERA compliance expenditures.
The four Pennsylvania settlements agreements include these cases:
* The EPA inspected nine of the 273 schools in the School District of Philadelphia. EPA cited the district for failing to send annual notices of asbestos-management plans to parent, teacher, and employee organizations. EPA has agreed to a no-penalty settlement because of the district's compliance efforts, cooperation with EPA, and $55,151 in AHERA compliance expenditures.
* The EPA cited the Diocese of Allentown for AHERA violations discovered during inspections of 11 of its 60 schools. The Diocese has spent at least $30,528 to come into compliance, so there is a zero-penalty amount.
* The EPA cited the Diocese of Scranton for AHERA violations discovered during inspections of 10 of its 48 schools. So far, the Diocese has spent $15,210 toward compliance has agreed to an additional $62,900 for compliance expenditures to inspect of all Diocese school buildings known or suspected to contain asbestos-containing materials, to designate and train an employee responsible for AHERA compliance, and to provide annual notice of asbestos-management plans to parent, teacher, and employee organizations.
* Edsys Inc. is responsible for ensuring the City Charter High School in Pittsburgh meets its AHERA requirements. The EPA cited Edsys for failing to have an initial inspection conducted prior to the buildings' use as a school and for not having an asbestos-management plan. Desks Inc. has spent $18,590 to comply with AHERA requirements and has certified that they are in compliance.
AHERA requires schools to develop a management plan for asbestos-containing materials, specifying safeguards to prevent the release of asbestos fibers. The law also requires schools to survey asbestos-containing materials, conduct twice-yearly surveillance and tri-annual inspections of these materials, and train personnel on AHERA compliance. Under AHERA, EPA may agree to reduce or eliminate penalties due to the schools’ cooperation with the EPA, compliance activities and expenditures.