Asbestos Update 1-22-20
St. Stephen of Hungary School
January 22, 2020
Dear Parents of St. Stephen of Hungary School,
In our effort to keep parents informed about our construction/renovation process, we will be publishing information about activities and plans as information becomes available. While we cannot answer each parent’s questions individually (we now have over 400 students!), we hope that these updates will address most questions and “keep you in the loop”.
Today’s Topic: Status of Asbestos Removal
Over the weekend of January 19th, our contractor began to remove the floor tiles in the current PK3 classrooms. The floor tiles contained sealed asbestos, and while they did not pose a hazard as long as they were in place, the removal or disturbance of these tiles poses the risk of releasing asbestos. For this reason, the tiles were removed by a qualified, credentialed asbestos removal company.
The PK3 classroom area was plasticized and sealed from the inside, with several decontamination chambers, a changing area and a shower area established prior to tile removal, which is standard for proper asbestos handling and removal. Multiple air monitors and large air transfer machines are installed for the duration of the project. Once the area was properly prepared, the tiles were pulled up, sealed off, packed in plastic and removed immediately from the school premises according to EPA guidelines. Any remaining dust in the area is construction dust from the concrete beneath the floor tiles and the beginning of demolition activities.
There are multiple layers to the process in the abatement process, designed to provide optimal control over potential hazards. In addition to the controls implemented by the contractor, a third party company monitors the air quality from the beginning of the process to the end of the process. This company is not paid by the contractor, but is paid directly by the school to serve as the school’s advocate for safety. This company answers directly to the Environmental Protection Agency.
If, at any time in the process, asbestos is released into the air that exceeds the acceptable threshold (established by the EPA), the entire removal process is shut down immediately, in real time. Fortunately, this did not happen at any time during the school’s removal process. This agency provides written documentation of all testing results acquired over the entire process. These results are kept on file in the school office.
At the end of the process, the project foreman and monitoring company certify that the area is free from asbestos contaminants and provide documentation to the school. In response to parent concerns about the appearance of the PK3 area on Tuesday, the school requested an additional inspection Tuesday morning. The asbestos abatement company foreman and an official from the Environmental Protection Agency repeated their inspection on Tuesday, January 21st and verified that the area is free of asbestos particulate.
Further work to remove floor tile was performed after all students, faculty and staff had vacated the school premises on Tuesday evening, January 21st, in the storage areas behind the PK3 rooms. The control process was followed and the asbestos abatement company has provided all documentation of testing procedures throughout the removal process for these areas, also. These are on file with the school office.
The next step for our renovation will be further verification of abatement by the city and the demolition of fixtures, unnecessary ductwork and non-loadbearing walls in the PK3 and storage areas.
Cardinal's visit 3-11-20