New York City school officials are running into trouble with a plan to remove lighting fixtures from some schools that containdangerous PCB chemicals, because asbestos construction products are also present in the buildings.
According to the New York Public Radio station WNYC’ news blog, the renovation plan by the NYC Department of Education has been significantly delayed after it was determined that many of the fixtures were insulated by asbestos.
“Asbestos comes with its own special rules and containment procedures,” Deputy Chancellor Kathleen Grimm recently told the City Council Committee, according to WNYC.
In order to prevent asbestos particles from being released into the air, any construction project that involves asbestos must be sealed off and performed under specific guidelines. While simply removing some fixtures could be done after school hours, the presence of asbestos makes the process more difficult. Because the school buildings are used so regularly, the only time that a school could undergo the renovations are on a weekend or holiday.
Because of this, city officials hoped that removing all of the fixtures in question from the schools that contain them could be done in the next five years, but acknowledged that the process could take up to ten years.
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