The Davis School Board has approved a contract with Industrial Health Inc. to check 10 schools for possible asbestos contamination in accordance with new federal regulations aimed at eliminating such problems in the schools.
The contract calls for a maximum payment of $65,000, but officials hope the total cost will be much less. Superintendent Richard Kendell said the district has until Oct. 12 to have all 70 district school buildings tested under the new federal regulations. School districts failing to meet the deadline face a possible $5,000 per day fine, and the district superintendent could be fined $5,000 for each uninspected school.The district has contacted Utah's congressional delegation to seek support for an extension of the deadline. Kendell, who recently attended hearings on the regulations in Washington, D.C., said it appears there is congressional support for a one-year extension, but a second extension is unlikely.
Kendell said using a 10-school sampling for the initial inspection will help establish the actual per- school cost for the inspection service. He said preliminary estimates ranged as high as $466,000, but IHI officials said the actual cost could reach $3,000 to $4,000 per school. If those estimates are correct, the total will be closer to $280,000.
The pilot testing will help establish a realistic estimate for setting a final contract amount and agreement, Kendell said. He said the district has been working with IHI for three years, but previous inspections did not meet the new federal regulations. IHI is recognized as a leader in this field, and Kendell said it would be to the district's advantage to retain the company's services.
Assistant Superintendent Dean Penrod said the inspections require core samples to be taken from any suspicious material used in a school. This could include carpet samples, floor tiles and any other material that has historically been treated with asbestos to increase flame resistance.
The samples must then be tested and a written report prepared on whether the building is within federal regulations or whether steps must be taken to remove hazardous materials.
Penrod said buildings that are 7 years old or newer will likely not have problems because of asbestos regulations that went into effect in 1980. Older schools are more likely to have problems.
Penrod said officials have found few problems in the past three years, and they believe this early effort will give the district some advantages in meeting the Oct. 12 deadline should an extension not be granted.