PCBs Lead to Elementary School Closed Indefinitely
Clark School in Hartford, CT has been closed indefinitely after low levels of PCBs were discovered during routine testing to install a new sprinkler system. Though having a facility closed indefinitely is a nightmare for most education institutions, many institutions with older buildings don’t realize just how plausible a situation like Clark School’s is for their facility.
Here’s what you need to know about PCBs and how you can prevent facility closures and other dangerous or costly situations.
What Are PCBs?
PCBs are polychlorinated biphenyls. They are a family of man-made chemicals containing 209 different variations, or congeners. They were used in industry beginning in the 1950s. They are detrimental to people and the environment and were outlawed in 1979. Unfortunately, prior to that time, many materials were made using PCBs. If you don’t know if you have PCBs, you’re not required to test, even if your building was built during the affected time period.
Clark School Tested Positive, Now What?
Though facilities aren’t required to test, once they do, if they test positive, they then become regulated under the EPA’s Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA). Under this act, facilities are required to properly remediate PCB-containing materials.
According to the EPA, “cleanup levels for an area contaminated with PCBs depend upon the degree of exposure to an area with residual contamination. Exposure is measured by the amount of time that people will be spending in the area, and the type of PCB contamination that will remain in place after remediation.”
For an educational institution, PCB remediation is often costly and complicated requiring the institution to eliminate all PCB risks safely and compliantly.
What Are Your Options?
While testing is the only sure-fire method of knowing if building materials have PCBs, there are a few things you can do to manage potential exposures and help determine if you’re in danger.
For more information on PCB management and regulations surrounding it, download our guide in the link below. For more information on how we can help you manage PCBs, check out case studies from past clients.