EPA fines 6 Arizona school districts for asbestos - New York News

EPA fines 6 Arizona school districts for asbestos

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PHOENIX (AP) - Six school districts in Arizona have done compliance work to avoid hefty federal fines for asbestos violations.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency fined the school districts a combined total of nearly $95,000.

More than 15,000 children attend the 25 schools not in compliance in the six districts - three in Apache County, two in Pinal County and one on the Fort Apache reservation.

  • Apache Junction Unified School District (Pinal County):  fined $21,675, but this was reduced to $7,933 because of the school district's cost of achieving compliance.    
  • St. John's Unified School District (Apache County):  fined $14,195, reduced to $824 by the school district's cost of achieving compliance.
  • Florence Unified School District (Pinal County)fined $31,705, but no cash payment was due because the documented costs of compliance exceeded the penalty.
  • Vernon Elementary School District (Apache County):  fined $2,700, but no cash payment was due because the documented costs of compliance exceeded the penalty.   
  • McNary Elementary School District (Fort Apache Indian Reservation):  fined $14,200, but no cash payment was due because the documented costs of compliance exceeded the penalty.
  • Round Valley Unified School District (Apache County):  fined $10,100, but no cash payment was due because the documented costs of compliance exceeded the penalty.

EPA officials say all of the school districts have since taken necessary actions to comply with the federal asbestos law and the cost of compliance reduces the penalties in most cases to zero.

During inspections in 2011, EPA inspectors say they discovered numerous violations in the school districts. Violations included failing to inspect and then re-inspect facilities for asbestos containing materials and not having a management plan.

More information on federal asbestos regulations: www.epa.gov/asbestos/lawsregs.html

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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