Blanchester to check municipal building history regarding any possible asbestos

By John Hamilton - [email protected]

BLANCHESTER — Village officials are going to check the history of the municipal building in regards to asbestos.

During Thursday’s Blanchester Village Council meeting, officials made the move after getting advice from Ted Schmalz of Proactive Consulting Service.

According to the company’s website — — the Cincinnati-based company “is committed to providing expert environmental, health and safety consulting services that promote regulatory compliance and reduce risk for our clients.”

Mayor John Carman said there had been previous discussions expressing concerns involving asbestos and black mold reportedly being in the municipal building.

Schmalz told council that when it comes to hazardous substances like asbestos, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says they should do a physical review of the materials.

“Air sampling can be a component of hazard assessment, but it shouldn’t be a standalone or the first step in the hazard assessment process,” said Schmalz. “So when you come into a building you identify the different types of asbestos-containing materials in the building. The inspector then looks at the condition of the material because that plays a large role in the hazard posed by asbestos. Then it’s where it’s located in the building has a large degree of the hazard.”

”Basically it’s the condition, where it’s located, and how those spaces are used as far as the level of concern you’d have for building occupants being exposed to it.”

Schmalz said air sampling is done if they know there’s a problem, such as if someone came in and “messed with a bunch of asbestos” or “there was dust everywhere.”

Air testing can be used in conjunction with a maintenance program used for asbestos, according to Schmalz.

”The bottom line is that the EPA doesn’t really come out and say … for the ambient air of the building … they don’t really have anything in place to say ‘this is a safe level’ or ‘this isn’t a safe level’. It’s more about the condition of the material in the building, where they’re located and do you have a maintenance plan in the building to prevent disturbance of the material.”

He said the EPA and OCEA have set forth limits as far as exposure limits and such, but it’s not really intended for stationary or ambient air — it’s more to clear asbestos work areas and seeing what workers are being exposed to.

“I think it’d be money well spent to have an inspector come in and look at the different types of material you have here and see if they’re in good conditions. I think that goes a lot further to protecting people and the occupants of the building,” he said.

He didn’t discourage air sampling, but indicated that would be a step to take after coming in and determining what’s in the building, what kind of condition it’s in, and where it’s located.

“You have to remember that air sampling is a snapshot. It’s basically only good for the period of time you take the air sampling,” he said.

If he does the test, he gave the council an estimated cost of $2,800.

Since the village’s municipal building used to be a school, he indicated there should be a document about the asbestos levels that were present when it was inspected in the late ’80s or early ‘90s.

When asked where could they get a copy of it, he said to check with the Ohio EPA if Blanchester School District doesn’t have a copy.

By John Hamilton

[email protected]

Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574

Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574