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Noah Webster Basic School takes steps to comply with asbestos law, protect students / Mesa, Ariz., charter school lacked management plan, proper inspection

Release Date: 01/20/2009
Contact Information: Dean Higuchi, 808-541-2711,

(01/20/09) SAN FRANCISCO -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has settled with the Noah Webster Basic School for alleged violations of the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act.

In April 2007, EPA inspectors discovered the Mesa, Ariz., school had not been inspected to determine if asbestos-containing materials were present in the school’s buildings and had not created an asbestos management plan.

The school has since completed inspections performed by accredited inspectors. No asbestos was found at the school, and necessary actions have since been taken to comply with the law by developing an asbestos management plan. The school was assessed a $2,400 fine for the violations which was off-set by the expense of coming into compliance.

“Asbestos can potentially endanger the health of students, teachers, and maintenance workers at schools,” said Katherine Taylor, associate director for the Communities and Ecosystems Division in EPA’s Pacific Southwest region. “We are pleased that Noah Webster has now conducted inspections and has put an asbestos management plan into place.”

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 the asbestos materials found in the school buildings.

Schools that do not contain asbestos-containing material must still develop a management plan which would identify the designated person and include the 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 compliance with federal regulations. Finally, schools must conduct periodic surveillance and re-inspections, properly train the 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.

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