Asbestos in Schools

The Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) was passed  by Congress in 1986, requiring public and non-profit K-12 schools to conduct inspections for asbestos-containing building materials and develop management plans which provide recommendations to minimize asbestos hazards.  Under AHERA, management plans were required to be implemented by July 9, 1989, with the first round of re-inspections conducted on or before July 9, 1992 (based on when the management plan was implemented). For many public school districts, this means that 2013 is a three-year re-inspection event.

According to Stacy Kahatapitiya, IH Program Manager at Arc Environmental, “when considering AHERA requirements, it is also important to understand that the definition  of ‘school’ includes all associated facility buildings essential to the operation of the school.” In the context of the AHERA regulations “school” is an all-encompassing term that includes structures as common as athletic facilities and student housing to more ambiguous areas such as parking garages and maintenance storage facilities. Ms. Kahatapitiya says, “In effect, all of these facilities are regulated and must be re-inspected every three-years.”

In Maryland, the definition of “school” is broadened to include any and all facilities with a name that implies a full-day academic setting. This means that day-care facilities which have “learning” (or a derivation thereof) or “academic” (or a derivation thereof) in the facility’s name are also regulated. Additionally, if the day-care advertises structured learning periods and disciplines it is regulated.

It is essential for all regulated facilities to understand these re-inspection requirements to ensure that they remain in compliance, or they risk the possibility of fines up to $25,000/day.

If you have any questions or would like more information about AHERA or other asbestos-related topics, please contact Ms. Kahatapitiya directly at 410-659-9971 or by email at

Visit the EPA’s website to learn more about The Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act.