A contractor who was installing state-funded security cameras at a high school in West Haven, Connecticut disturbs asbestos materials during the installation. Nor did they complete an inspection before the work began, prompting concerns from parents and staff members at the school, reports an article in the New Haven Register.
“The project was not reviewed by an asbestos project design or an asbestos management planner as required by Connecticut and EPA regulations,” stated Richard Dunn of Dunn Environmental Inspections of West Haven in a letter that he penned to a state Department of Public Health environmental sanitarian.
“Additionally, asbestos materials were disturbed by untrained and unlicensed persons during this camera installation project without containment or engineering controls to prevent fiber release,”
Dunn continued in the letter, which was part of a report he submitted to the school district and to other authorities.
Dunn added that workers for the security camera firm were crawling around in a small, confined space that was ripe with friable asbestos insulation.
There was, he said, no evidence that these workers were supplied with the proper gear to prevent asbestos inhalation.
The mayor of West Haven, Ed O’Brien, said he believes Dunn’s report is false, though his attorneys have advised him not to discuss the matter.
The owner of the security firm, Richard Shea of Hi Tech Electricom, also serves on the West Haven High School Building Committee and was appointed by the mayor, the article points out.
Parents and others have hinted at an improper professional/political relationship between the mayor and the firm, and many were livid about the possible spread of asbestos materials throughout the school.
“It’s just mind-boggling. I’m not sure I want my daughter to go there,” said Bridgette Hoskie, whose 12-year-old daughter now goes to Betsy Ross Arts Magnet School in New Haven but is considering West Haven High in the future.
Two of her sons previously graduated from the school.
“This person, this company that did the work, that went through the asbestos and didn’t care. How do we know that they’re not going to do this to us again?” said Hoskie, who posted the Dunn report on the local West Haven Facebook group.
Mayor O’Brien maintained that there was no danger to those inside the building, noting that his son is a student at the school.
Still, as more and more schools employ the use of security cameras, prompting installation of expansive and complicated systems, it’s clear that encountering asbestos materials should be addressed before any installation is considered.
According to EPA rules, all schools that contain asbestos materials must have an asbestos management plan in place and all should have maps on hand that indicate where asbestos is located within their building.
Maintenance personnel should also be made familiar with the location of asbestos and should know how to handle any asbestos emergencies that may arise.