Southington, CT - A potential renovation project at two middle schools in Southington, Connecticut could turn into a fiscal nightmare – and an environmental one as well – now that inspectors have determined that the buildings contain high levels of toxic asbestos and PCBs.
According to an article posted on the Southington Patch, the results of environmental studies at both Kennedy and DePaolo Middle Schools in the Hartford County town of Southington surprised some school board officials and alarmed many parents, even though the findings determined that there isn't any present danger to those who work or attend school inside those contaminated buildings.
Superintendent of Schools, Joseph Erardi, said in a letter to parents that air samples were taken and PCBs and asbestos remain in place at this time. The findings, however, indicate that there's much to be done to make both Kennedy and DePaolo totally safe for those who spend their days inside those buildings.
Erardi acknowledged that more than 200,000 square feet of asbestos materials would have to be removed from DePaolo Middle School and another 120,000 square feet from Kennedy. Most of the asbestos can be found underneath the floor tiles and in the ceiling, the article indicated.
Robert C. Brown, a certified environmental hygienist with Hygenix, Inc., the company that conducted the study and testing, told officials that because levels of carcinogens are so high, these issues must be addressed very carefully and a complicated remediation plan will need to be discussed with the U.S. Environmental Association and the Department of Environmental Protection. There are myriad laws governing asbestos removal and removal of PCB-containing materials so as to protect humans from exposure to the toxins.
While most local and school board officials are most concerned about cost of remediation, which could soar into the millions, parents are more concerned about safety issues. Exposure to asbestos can cause a variety of respiratory illnesses including mesothelioma cancer, which can take up to 50 years to develop. Exposure to PCBs causes a host of additional illnesses including psychomotor issues and neurological problems.