Asbestos removal from school concerns parents

Source:, April 1, 2011
By: Araceli Thiele

Is it wise to start removing asbestos from a school when school is still in session? A question being asked in Carmi, Illinois.

In March a letter was sent out to parents notifying them of asbestos removal at Carmi White County High School.

School officials say although it will take place during the next three months, it will not compromise air quality or put students or staff at risk.

For those parents who contacted WFIE, removing asbestos on school property during the school year sounds dangerous.

Environmental experts say it’s common and strictly regulated by the state.

“We will not be going into lets say a classroom and removing pipe insulation, and then little Johnny and little Susie being in there the next day. It doesn’t work like that,” Jeffry Faust of Environmental Consultants LLC, Principal says.

As required by state law, Jeffry Faust is with a third party agency hired to oversee contractors.

Faust says the asbestos removal will begin April 11th during the late afternoon and evening hours after classes are let out for the day.

The work will take place first in areas that are unoccupied by students like the boiler room.

“The work takes place inside what we call negative pressure, HEPA filtered containments, so that all of the air is controlled. That’s done within plastic side containers. In addition there is actual construction barriers. So a student couldn’t walk up to a plastic side containment all that is done behind ply wood barriers,” Faust says.

Officials say each day air quality will be monitored and if for any reason there should be a problem school would be canceled until it is resolved.

“The last thing we would ever want to do is put our students or staff in any harm,” Carmi White County High School Principal Brad Lee says.

Principal Brad Lee says this is all part of a $6.5 million renovation to Carmi High School to make it energy efficient and healthier for students.

The rest of the project includes replacing exterior and interior doors, fire alarm systems, ceilings, lights and exchanging the old boiler system with new heating and air conditioning units.

Those who still have questions and are concerned can contact the White County superintendent or Carmi High School principal.

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