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Fireproofing Adds to Osborn Hill's PCB Woes

Officials announced new results of higher levels of PCBs at Osborn Hill School; superintendent, principal announce goal is to open school on schedule and as a 'safe environment' for students and staff.

Fireproofing Adds to Osborn Hill's PCB Woes

As the first day of school -- Aug. 30 -- quickly approaches, concern is growing over the levels of PCBs at .

School officials announced at the end of July that additional testing revealed that spray-on fireproofing on the gym roof steel was a likely source of PCBs in addition to window caulking and glazing.

PCBs are "a group of chemicals that contain 209 individual compounds (known as congeners) with varying harmful effects," according to the firm AMC Environmental, which was hired by the district to conduct testing for hazardous materials prior to an upcoming window replacement project at the school.

According to a July 19 memo released by the district's Manager of Construction, Security, and Safety Sal Morabito, the fireproofing will be removed and specialized cleanings of affected areas should lower the PCB levels below the limited recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

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To keep informed of updates regarding PCB levels at Osborn Hill School, visit the Hazardous Materials Testing page on the Fairfield school district's website.

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. Morabito's most recent memo states that, in addition to the gym corridor and the classroom, several other classrooms along the upper grade corridor, the upper grade corridor, the gym, and the entry lobby will require specialized cleaning.

Clean-up will begin once school officials, AMC Environmental, EPA, and the state's Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) meet to decide on plan for abatement and cleaning, according to Morabito's memo.

Officials from the DEEP, EPA, the Connecticut Department of Health, Fairfield's Health Director, district administrators, consultants from AMC Environmental, Indoor Air Technologies, AAIS Corporation, and Osborn Hill Principal Frank Arnone met at the school Wednesday, Aug. 1 to begin the process of devising a plan and conducting the cleaning.

"We are making every effort to resolve this matter as quickly as possible and to plan for every contingency," Superintendent of Schools Dr. David Title and Arnone wrote in a joint statement on Aug. 3

Both Arnone and Title will continue to update Osborn Hill parents weekly until the matter is resolved. The goal is to open the school on scheduled as a "safe learning environment" for students and staff.

Parents can expect updates of progress and cleaning results every Friday until the matter is resolved.

An informational forum for the public has been scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 15, featuring representatives from the agencies involved in the testing and cleaning of the school. Details will be released in Title and Arnone's Aug. 10 memo to parents.

In the meantime, town officials have expressed solidarity for the Osborn Hill community.

"I think it is important for everyone affected to know we're behind them," Selectman Kevin Kiley said at the Board of Selectmen's August meeting.  "There's a lot of uncertainty and angst and concerns."

Selectman Cristin McCarthy Vahey agreed and added the Osborn Hill is "a very strong community. I know they will work well together."

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