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INFORMATIONAL LETTER: 39
TO: Superintendents of Schools
Update on Management: The Department spent considerable time last year in assisting schools with better chemical management. Specifically, inventories were collected for lab chemicals and these inventories showed that 44 % of middle and high schools with chemistry programs had chemicals with unacceptable risk, according to DEP guidelines. The Department informed those schools that the chemicals had high risk and then solicited bids for a coordinated statewide disposal effort for those chemicals from hazardous waste contractors. The prices received were favorable (nearly a 50% reduction from regular rates) and nearly 100 schools signed up for the summer collection program. Also, the Department presented a status report, drafted by a stakeholders group, to the Legislature recommending that the Department add a position to better assist SAUs with chemical management and that SAUs (or regions of SAUs) hire or acquire services to do the same. The last legislative session was a short one, so no action was taken with respect to those recommendations. The Department will request a full-time position this session to help school administrative units better manage chemicals in our public school buildings. Lastly, the Department will revise Chapter 161 this Fall to update the rules and encourage/mandate the use of less hazardous chemicals (“going green”), whenever feasible.
It is important that schools develop, implement, and make an on-going commitment to programs that promote the safe use, handling, storage, and disposal of chemicals in middle and high schools, which are ultimately under your control.
Please contact Ed Antz, at 624-6886, or e-mail him, at firstname.lastname@example.org, with questions or concerns. Thank you and I look forward to working with you as we deal more effectively with chemicals in our schools.
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