In preparation for the installation of air conditioning at Nathaniel Woodhull Elementary School, which was part of the capital project overwhelmingly approved by voters in October 2017, the district must have asbestos testing performed for any areas that will be disturbed. As expected, testing revealed that a small area in the underground crawlspace needs to be abated before the air conditioning work can begin. Asbestos was widely used in public and commercial buildings built before the 1980s.
The district will be hiring a NYS-approved asbestos abatement company, which will be overseen by Enviroscience, an environmental consulting firm that specializes in asbestos abatement who will ensure that all air quality standards are met throughout the process.
The work will be scheduled during the upcoming February break when the building is not occupied with students or staff.
New York state law requires a 10-day notice for hazardous material abatement; therefore the community will see a notice posted to the exterior doors of the building beginning on February 4, 2019. If you have any questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. We have compiled a list below of questions that our residents might find helpful.
What is asbestos?
Asbestos is a heat-resistant fibrous silicate mineral that can be woven into fabrics, and used in fire-resistant and insulating materials. It was commonly used in buildings constructed before the 1980s.
Why is asbestos in the building?
Due to its durability and fire-resistant qualities, it was used in nearly every public and commercial building in the United States constructed prior to the 1980s.
Wasn’t asbestos banned and removed from schools years ago?
Asbestos-containing materials, with few exceptions, are not currently banned in the United States and are still “managed-in-place” in schools. Under requirements set forth by the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA), these asbestos-containing materials in schools must be managed in an undamaged and non-friable (not easily crumbled) condition.
Is asbestos dangerous?
Asbestos becomes a hazard when it is damaged, crumbles or is in a state of disrepair. If managed properly, it does not pose a health risk.
Where is the asbestos located in Nathaniel Woodhull Elementary School?
Asbestos is located in an underground sealed crawlspace that is not accessible to students or staff. The asbestos in this location is currently in an undamaged and non-friable condition; it will be abated in order to complete the duct work necessary to install air conditioning in the building.
How will air quality be monitored?
Enviroscience, an environmental consulting firm, will provide air monitoring and laboratory analysis throughout the process to ensure that the air quality meets all federal and state standards.
What happens if the air quality falls below required standards?
In the event air quality falls below standards, the district would close the school until it was safe for people to return to the building. Rest assured that the safety of our students and staff is the top priority.
What is your asbestos management plan?
The district follows all federal and state laws involved with asbestos management and abatement. Per EPA guidelines, it is the district’s policy to remove asbestos only when damaged, during demolition or remodeling. Additionally, according to the requirements of Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA), the district completes mandatory asbestos re-inspections of all buildings on a six-month basis. The district also maintains an asbestos management plan, which is on file in each of the district’s buildings. To review the plan, please contact the WFSD Plant Facilities Department at (631) 874-1722.