Saturday, June 7, 2003

School lead removal begins

22 buildings to be treated

By Jennifer Mrozowski
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Preventive maintenance for potential lead paint hazards begins Monday at four Cincinnati Public schools, with work on 18 more schools to continue through the summer.

Work on the estimated $5.5 million project is expected to be complete before schools reopen Aug. 21.

The scope of the work includes:

• Removal of all contents in a room, as well as removal of loose and deteriorated paint on exterior security screens, exterior window surfaces, interior ceilings and radiator pipes.

• Sealing of exterior security screens and window surfaces.

• Repainting any interior surfaces where loose and deteriorated paint was removed and applying a urethane sealant to all windowsills.

• Painting all radiators and exposed heating pipes.

• Conducting specialized cleaning of all affected rooms.

• Cleaning and sealing of floors and cleaning of all furniture before returning it to classrooms.

• Vacuuming carpet with high-power filtered vacuums.

• Conducting clearance examinations in accordance with accepted standards by third parties.

• Cleaning affected exterior paved surfaces and covering unpaved exterior areas.

"This is a very thorough program," said district spokeswoman Janet Walsh. "Experts we have talked with say that with the sealing of the windows and floors and by following a scrupulous cleaning process, the buildings will be lead-free."

The district launched the lead prevention cleaning after a student at Heberle Elementary in the West End was found to have elevated blood lead levels. Lead poisoning can result in nausea, brain damage or even death.

It was later found that the Heberle student had elevated blood lead levels earlier in life, but tests of the school in March found hazardous lead paint there. The school closed in April and the students were moved to the vacant Porter school nearby in the West End for the rest of the school year.

The cost to abate Heberle is estimated at $1.5 million, causing district officials to consider closing the school for good.

Heberle was slated to close around 2009 as part of the district's $1 billion project to build 35 new schools and renovate 31 more over 10 years.

Work starts Monday on Hoffman, Kilgour, McKinley and Central Fairmount. All 22 schools receiving preventive lead maintenance are elementary schools built before 1950.


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