Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2008

Asbestos tiling to be removed from Poolesville

Asbestos-containing materials will be taken out of other schools this summer

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Work will commence this summer on tearing out floor tiles that contain asbestos at Poolesville Elementary School as part of the school system’s ongoing asbestos removal program.

Floor tiles and adhesives will be taken out of a storage room, a lounge and six classrooms after the school year ends in June, according to Nate Brown, an environmental health specialist with Montgomery County Public Schools. Asbestos-containing building materials will be removed from 13 to 14 schools this summer.

Asbestos-containing materials remain in about half of the county’s public schools, according to Lynne Zarate, an environmental safety coordinator with the school system. She said she would not release the names of the other schools that will have asbestos removed this summer because the list is still tentative and funding, which comes from the capital budget, has not yet been allocated.

‘‘It’s a periodic thing,” Brown said. ‘‘We just continue to go through each school.”

Asbestos, a naturally occurring fibrous mineral commonly used in many kinds of building materials, can cause cancer or lung disease if the fibers are released into the air and inhaled over a period of time, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Web site.

Though present in most schools, the materials generally only pose a health risk if damaged or otherwise disturbed. Unlike ceiling tiles and other materials, asbestos in floor tiling is non-friable, meaning that it will not crumble under hand pressure when dry, and typically only releases fibers when extremely damaged, such as if it is sanded.

MCPS began its asbestos removal program after the federal Asbestos Hazardous Emergency Response Act went into effect in 1989, according to Brown. The act requires school systems to inventory asbestos-containing building materials in all its facilities, create a management plans for each building and remove the materials if they become damaged or pose a health risk, according to the EPA.

Brown said about four or five classrooms with asbestos-containing floor tiles will remain after the work this summer at Poolesville Elementary, which was built in 1960 and renovated in 1978. There are no cost estimates for the removal at this time, and MCPS hopes to receive bids for the project in March, he said.

Though Brown said the start date for construction is tentative, a recent letter to school administrators from Brown e-mailed to The Gazette last month estimated that the project would run from June 16 through June 27.

The only group that would be using the school at the time is the Bar-T summer day camp, according to Poolesville Elementary Principal Darlyne McEleney. Bar-T will have the choice whether to use another portion of the building during construction or find an alternate location, she said last week. Bar-T representatives did not return calls for comment.

‘‘We have enough room here that they can go in different parts of the school,” McEleney said. ‘‘...We’re just going to finagle it so that they’re located somewhere else in the building.”Asbestos tiling to be removed from Poolesville

Work will commence this summer on tearing out floor tiles that contain asbestos at Poolesville Elementary School as part of the school system’s ongoing asbestos removal program.

Floor tiles and adhesives will be taken out of a storage room, a lounge and six classrooms after the school year ends in June, according to Nate Brown, an environmental health specialist with Montgomery County Public Schools. Asbestos-containing building materials will be removed from 13 to 14 schools this summer.

Asbestos-containing materials remain in about half of the county’s public schools, according to Lynne Zarate, an environmental safety coordinator with the school system. She said she would not release the names of the other schools that will have asbestos removed this summer because the list is still tentative and funding, which comes from the capital budget, has not yet been allocated.

‘‘It’s a periodic thing,” Brown said. ‘‘We just continue to go through each school.”

Asbestos, a naturally occurring fibrous mineral commonly used in many kinds of building materials, can cause cancer or lung disease if the fibers are released into the air and inhaled over a period of time, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Web site.

Though present in most schools, the materials generally only pose a health risk if damaged or otherwise disturbed. Unlike ceiling tiles and other materials, asbestos in floor tiling is non-friable, meaning that it will not crumble under hand pressure when dry, and typically only releases fibers when extremely damaged, such as if it is sanded.

MCPS began its asbestos removal program after the federal Asbestos Hazardous Emergency Response Act went into effect in 1989, according to Brown. The act requires school systems to inventory asbestos-containing building materials in all its facilities, create a management plans for each building and remove the materials if they become damaged or pose a health risk, according to the EPA.

Brown said about four or five classrooms with asbestos-containing floor tiles will remain after the work this summer at Poolesville Elementary, which was built in 1960 and renovated in 1978. There are no cost estimates for the removal at this time, and MCPS hopes to receive bids for the project in March, he said.

Though Brown said the start date for construction is tentative, a recent letter to school administrators from Brown e-mailed to The Gazette last month estimated that the project would run from June 16 through June 27.

The only group that would be using the school at the time is the Bar-T summer day camp, according to Poolesville Elementary Principal Darlyne McEleney. Bar-T will have the choice whether to use another portion of the building during construction or find an alternate location, she said last week. Bar-T representatives did not return calls for comment.

‘‘We have enough room here that they can go in different parts of the school,” McEleney said. ‘‘...We’re just going to finagle it so that they’re located somewhere else in the building.”