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The Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) came into existence in 1986. Under AHERA, all schools were required to be inspected for the presence of asbestos containing, or presumed asbestos containing, materials. Districts were mandated to have a plan in place to manage these materials. Yet after all this time, and despite the severe penalties that may be imposed by the EPA for non-compliance, many district administrators are still unaware or uncertain of their responsibilities under this federal law. Since the AHERA law came into effect, SERRC has worked with over 30 school districts throughout Alaska, helping them to understand and comply with this sometimes confusing responsibility.
AHERA requires the district to keep and maintain an Asbestos Management Plan (AMP) for each school facility, whether or not asbestos containing materials are present in the building. This plan should contain, among other things, information on the type and location of the asbestos containing materials in the building if any, the methods used to interact with and maintain these materials, and records of required staff training. The plan must be kept available for public inspection, and public notice of its availability for inspection must be made annually. The AMP is designed to be a living document, and copies are to be maintained at each school and at the district office. The district is required to appoint a Designated Person to ensure that these responsibilities are met.
AHERA also requires that all asbestos containing materials in schools be re-inspected every three years to ensure that they have not degraded and become a danger to the building’s occupants. SERRC has an accredited AHERA Building Inspector and Management Planner on staff to perform these 3-year re-inspections. During the re-inspection process, we look for any changes in the condition of these materials to make sure they have been well maintained and kept safe, and issue recommendations if issues are found. As part of the re-inspection process, we also review your AMP to ensure that the necessary actions are being taken by district personnel, and that the district’s record keeping requirements are being met. SERRC can also assist in replacing or reconstructing a missing management plan, and in putting together a management plan for a new building.
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