100 Commonly Asked Questions About the New AHERA Asbestos-in-Schools Rule
Additional AHERA FAQs
- What should be included in a management plan for which there are either test results revealing no asbestos is present or a valid exclusion letter/statement stating that no asbestos is present?
If sample results show that no asbestos is present and the inspector signs and dates a statement to that effect (valid exclusion letter/statement) the following is needed for the management plan at the school campus and in the school district’s main repository, commonly the administrative building.
- Exclusion letter/statement
- Notification to parents
- Designated person signed statement
- Designated person training
Can a licensed management planner write an exclusion statement for a school asbestos management plan as required by the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA)?
Yes, a licensed management planner that works for a consultant agency can write an exclusion letter/statement. AHERA regulations require the inspector to sign an exclusion letter/statement based on sampling results and/or a review of inspection records. No sampling or MSDS sheets are required to be included for new construction to satisfy the AHERA management plan requirement for an asbestos inspection. Under the Texas Asbestos Health Protection Rules (TAHPR) the inspector or management planner would have to review and include any previous surveys, and any MSDS sheets for the building to write the exclusion statement. In other words if a licensed management planner were to write the exclusion letter/statement for the management plan only, the sampling and inspection results must be reviewed but they would not have to be included in the management plan. However, documentation regarding whether any of the material has become friable would need to be included. If the school district does any renovation, then a TAHPR exclusion letter/statement is needed and must be accompanied by any past surveys and MSDSs reviewed to qualify as the asbestos survey needed before renovation can begin. It is in the school district’s best interest to obtain an exclusion letter/statement and the associated documents that satisfy both the AHERA and TAHPR requirements.
Is there a time frame for exclusion letters? For example, if a school was built in 2005 and was inspected and found in violation (because the school did not have a valid exclusion letter/statement) by the Department of State Health Services in 2010, can the architect involved in building the school in 2005 write an exclusion letter/statement now?
AHERA regulation §763.99 states that the inspector has 30 days from the time they make their assessment to write an exclusion statement. If an asbestos inspector performs a review of the existing asbestos inspection/survey and any related MSDSs and determines that there is no asbestos containing material in the building, then they have 30 days after making that assessment to write the exclusion statement and submit it to the school’s designated person for inclusion in the management plan. An exclusion letter/statement may be written after 30 days but the school district could be cited for a deficiency if they are inspected by DSHS within that timeframe.
Are there any samples of what a valid exclusion letter/statement should say?
The following is an example of an exclusion letter/statement that would satisfy both the AHERA and TAHPR requirements.
I, John Doe, Professional Engineer (license #12345TX), was involved in the design and construction of the new renovation at ABC Middle School, ABC, TX. I have reviewed all of the MSDS’s for the current renovation and the asbestos survey for the pre-existing portion of the building and in my professional opinion all parts of the building affected by the planned renovation do not contain asbestos. This certification, together with copies of the MSDSs and copies of any previous asbestos surveys, may be used as an asbestos survey as described in the Texas Asbestos Health Protection Rules §295.34(c)(1).
My school’s original management plan shows that the floor tile and mastic (adhesive) in the cafeteria was not tested for asbestos, but was “assumed” to contain asbestos. We now have plans to replace this floor tile. Do we have to assume the materials contain asbestos and treat it as asbestos-containing material?
Yes, material that is suspect and was not analyzed for asbestos content must be treated as asbestos-containing material (ACM) until it is analyzed for asbestos content and the results of all samples required to be collected from the area in question show no asbestos or asbestos in amounts of 1 percent or less.
The AHERA regulations require local education agencies (LEAs) to identify friable and non-friable ACM in public and private/non-profit elementary and secondary schools by visually inspecting school buildings for such materials, sampling the materials if they are not assumed to be ACM, and having samples analyzed using appropriate techniques. The LEA must also submit a management plan to the state, and must update and maintain records in the management plan as required under AHERA. In addition, the LEA must use accredited persons to conduct inspections, re-inspections, develop management plans, or perform response actions. In Texas, these accredited persons must also be licensed by the Texas Department of State Health Services. Building materials that are identified in the LEA’s management plan as “assumed” ACM must always be treated as ACM until such time as the material is properly sampled, analyzed, and found to contain 1 percent or less asbestos.
If the samples show that the assumed ACM contains greater than one percent asbestos, then the material is asbestos-containing material and must be treated as ACM until the material is properly abated by licensed professionals. The records for inspections, sample collection, sample analyses, and any abatement activities must be added to your management plan.
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