Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

By Jack Sadler
Special to the Observer 

Environ Provides PCB Findings to Board


In order to provide clarity and transparency to the removal process of harmful substances from Malibu SMMUSD school sites, Environ International Corporation, which provides scientific consulting for the district, outlined SMMUSD’s progress and future plans at the March 19th board meeting. Over one year ago, community members in Malibu raised questions about the safety of Malibu High School and Juan Cabrillo Elementary School. Specifically, parents, staff and students worried about the presence of PCB’s in old building material and caulking. PCB’s are carcinogens with known health risks. In response, the district hired Environ to investigate and provide solutions to any possible health risks. To begin the meeting, Superintendent Sandra Lyon briefly explained how the district has aided and safeguarded Environs’ work.

“Three key areas of input have helped guide Environs work. First we provided all preliminary testing data…Second we opened a direct line of communication via email between the community and Environ. Third, Environs’ work has been approved by the EPA throughout this 18-month process.” Lyon said

Community members, many of whom spoke at the nearly six hour long meeting, raised concerns that Environs’ testing wasn’t through, the district wasn’t being transparent and that significant health risks still remained. Many of community members asked the district to consider simply re-building many parts of Malibu High and Juan Cabrillo Elementary School.

According to Environ, some material in the school warrants removal whereas other material, which doesn’t pose a significant health risk, will be removed at the end of the building’s natural life. Environ told the board during their meeting that air and dust sampling has indicated exposures are acceptable.

The EPA concurred that the data meet’s [the Toxic Substances Control Act’s] standards for no unreasonable risk and do not present a public health risk.” an Environ representative said.

Environ also outlined their remediation plan for the summer. According to the corporation, old light fixtures, caulk from four rooms and the caulk from the Malibu High library is set to be removed this summer. In addition, BMP cleaning is expected to continue on an annual basis. Future monitoring of PCB’s will most likely continue on a smaller scale.


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