Pipe Bursts Cause $1.3M In Asbestos Damage At Framingham Schools

Illustration of potential asbestos exposure in a building

$1.3M will be allotted by the town of Framingham’s insurance to clean up burst pipes in the district’s schools where asbestos tiles complicated the water flooding. Director of Buildings and Ground, Matt Torti, said two schools had damage as a result of four water pipes bursting coincidentally on the same day.

In the McCarthy Elementary School, the water damaged an entire wing of 10 classrooms. The carpets and floor were ruined, with asbestos tiles found beneath the carpets. Not only was the flooring damaged, but the ceiling tiles, sheet rock, cabinets, and more were damaged.

Asbestos exposure can lead to mesothelioma, which is an aggressive cancer affecting the membrane lining of the lungs and abdomen. More specifically, asbestos is a microscopic and naturally occurring mineral that lodges in the pleural lining of the lungs and the peritoneal lining of the abdomen cavity. In most cases, several years will pass (up to 60) before mesothelioma develops.

According to Torti, clean up crews discovered the asbestos under the carpet, which was from renovations years and years before. For precaution, the district decided to place all teachers and the 180 students into Fuller Middle School until the tiles are removed and the repairs are complete.

An asbestos consultant will play a role in the removal, performing the testing and making recommendations for the safe removal or containment of the asbestos containing material. The consultant also monitors and certifies the success of the asbestos removal contractor.

The contractor will determine whether a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) license is required for the job. This license is necessary when there is a high probability that asbestos fibers will be released into the air during the scheduled work. The contractor assesses what is required for removal, performs the removal, and properly disposes of the hazardous material.

“The main reason we could not remove or remediate immediately after the flood happened was as we lifted up the carpet we discovered there were asbestos tiles left there. All that asbestos had to be removed while the students were out of the building,” said Torti.

Removing the asbestos tiles and carpets cost $260,000. The rest of the damages, including installing new bookcases, sheet rock, painting, and more, are estimated at $853,000. The rest of the $1.3M will be for the King School to repair water damage from the burst pipes.

Although the town’s insurance will pay for the construction costs, the town will need to cover administrative oversight and staff labor charges. Students are expected back to school in the fall at both McCarthy Elementary and King.