As the projects to replace windows at Fairfield Ludlowe High School and Osborn Elementary School approach, testing for hazardous materials continues at both schools.
The possibility of hazardous materials in Fairfield public schools was recently brought to light .
Testing Continues at Ludlowe High School
A memo from Manager of Construction, Security, and Safety Sal Morabito posted on the Fairfield Public Schools district website states that a third round of testing continued at on Wednesday, June 27. Results from that round of testing will be posted once received by the Central Office staff.
A first round of testing in October 2011 revealed hazardous materials present in the window caulking that would be disturbed once the windows are replaced, which could create a potentially dangerous environment if not remediated. The hazardous materials included asbestos-containing materials, lead-based paint, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).
According to AMC Environmental, LLC, the Stratford-based firm that has done the testing for both Ludlowe and Osborn Hill, PCBs are "a group of chemicals that contain 209 individual compounds (known as congeners) with varying harmful effects."
Before the manufacturing of PCBs was banned in 1979, the chemicals were used for various industrial and commercial applications, according to AMC Environmental.
"Interior elevated levels" of PCBs were detected in classrooms 203 and 220 at Ludlowe; additional testing was performed in February 2012, another memo from Morabito states.
But a March 2 memo from the district's Director of Operations Thomas Cullen containing results from the two classrooms revealed good news:
"I am happy to report at this time that the air sampling did not document the presence of PCBs in the air and the wipe test documented results below the actionable level per state regulations," Cullen states in the memo.
Once the additional testing that began June 27 is complete, a PCB remediation plan will be developed and sent to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) for approval, and then put into effect prior to the window replacement project.
'Substantial Progress' in Lowering PCB Levels at Osborn Hill School
A May 25 memo from Morabito containing test results for indicated levels of PCBs that were "higher than the EPA recommended maximum levels" in window materials in classroom 116 and the corridor leading to gymnasium.
A specialized cleaning protocol for the affected areas was performed the evening of Friday, May 25 and spaces and adjacent areas were retested on Saturday, May 26.
Results from the May 26 testing showed "substantial progress" in lowering the levels of PCBs: levels below the EPAs recommended limit were indicated in classroom 116, but they remain above the limit in the corridor leading to the gym, Morabito stated in a June 12 memo.
The corridor will be cleaned again the week of July 16, according to a June 26 memo sent by Morabito to the Board of Education and Superintendent of Schools Dr. David Title.
Additional testing at Osborn Hill School was begun on June 27 and the corridor will be tested again the week of July 23 to follow-up the specialized cleaning, Morabito states in the memo.
Morabito released a list of frequently asked questions and answers in his June 12 memo to the Board of Education and Title, which covered topics including whether or not it was safe to keep children in the building.
He stated that the EPA and DEEP advised that evacuation was not necessary though steps needed to be taken to reduce exposure. School let out for the summer in late June and a Parks and Recreation summer camp at Osborn Hill School was moved to , according to a report in the Fairfield Citizen.