Sunday, September 18, 2011

PCB Hazard at Carrington Elementary School in Waterbury CT

During pre-construction for a new school building, elevated PCB levels were discovered at the Carrington Elementary School. This hazard discovery has caused kindergarten students to remain in their classrooms for much of the day. There are different EPA standards for acceptable levels of PCBs depending upon a persons age. This caused the school administrations to switch classrooms between the kindergarten students and the second grade students for more acceptable levels for children below 6 years old. A $50, 000 cleanup and treatment of PCB sources over the summer managed to bring the airborne PCB levels throughout the school.

Points for consideration:
  • Often when reconstruction or renovation takes place on older buildings environmental hazards are often identified since the environmental standards were different or non-existent when they were built. 
  • School Administrators must plan for this contingency during a reconstruction and its effect on continuity of operations (COOP) should PCBs or some other hazard be discovered.
    • What is its impact on on the school schedule, class assignments, and activities.
  • School Leadership must ensure their information campaign to keep the public informed is critical to maintaining confidence in their school community.   

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