Testing programs involving radon gas, asbestos and drinking water in the Sevier School District have been launched.

Asbestos exists in some of the buildings, according to Samuel Ware, director of business affairs. "Until funding is available for abatement, safe containment is achievable with proper procedures," he said. "It is the opinion of many specialists that removal of asbestos compounds the problem because it releases fibers into the air."Specialized material and equipment have been procured to facilitate handling of any asbestos problems.

Three schools are being tested for radon gas, a program that will terminate in May. They are the South Sevier High School and South Sevier Middle School in Monroe and the Ashman Elementary School in Richfield. Personnel have been trained to conduct the testing.

Ware said some brands and models of refrigerated water coolers have been found to introduce lead into drinking water, so the district has requested information from the state to determine required testing. This will be completed as soon as possible.

The district is also obtaining permits and authorization to remove an existing underground diesel fuel tank at a newly acquired warehouse and transportation complex. It will be relocated and installed above ground in the South Sevier attendance area because several diesel buses are being used in that locality.

The installation will be in compliance with Environmental Protection Agency guidelines. The tank will be replaced if necessary, Ware said.