Environmental Safety

  • Our school district wants to make sure students, teachers, staff, and visitors all enjoy the benefits of a safe and healthful school environment as related to:
    • indoor air quality;
    • asbestos construction materials such as floor tiles;
    • regulated waste materials; and
    • following good housekeeping and maintenance procedures.

    Indoor Air Quality
    Good indoor air quality contributes to healthy learning environments for students and provides a sense of comfort, health, and well-being of all school occupants.  Air quality can be affected by dust, excessive humidity, temperature, unpleasant odors, moisture intrusion, and dampness.  The district is proactive in its’ efforts to maintain the best possible indoor air quality (IAQ) in all our schools and has adopted the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommended “Air Quality Best Practices.”  The program is known as Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Tools for Schools.
    Proactive measures include:
    • An IAQ committee monitors and investigates concerns throughout the district and implements corrective actions.  Schools and parent groups are encouraged to establish IAQ committees at schools.
    • Controlling potential irritants (laboratory chemicals, hazardous materials, art supplies, pesticides, animal odors, etc.).
    • Evaluating and controlling temperature and humidity
    • Providing adequate ventilating to classrooms and offices
    • Following good housekeeping and maintenance procedures
    • The district is committed to renovating and building schools in ways that make it easier to manage indoor air quality.

    Asbestos in Schools Program
    Asbestos-containing materials (ACM) such as floor tiles and pipe insulation have been used as a construction material in public buildings and schools for the past 75 years because material provides durability, superior insulation, and fire resistive properties.  The State of North Carolina and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates ACM in schools and requires regular inspections because asbestos dust is a potential health hazard.  The regulations ensure that the general public and building occupants are protected from the potential health hazards associated with airborne asbestos fibers.  School districts throughout the USA are obligated to comply with the EPA regulations. The EPA Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) mandates DPS to develop and maintain an inspection and monitoring program.
    The district’s Asbestos in Schools Program is designed to protect the general public, students, employees, and environment against any potential accidental exposure to asbestos fibers.  The cooperation and understanding of parents/guardians, teachers, employees and students in complying with our program is appreciated.  Our program has been in place since 1988 and is managed by Safety & Security Services.
    The goal of the district’s Asbestos in Schools Program is to:
    • Manage asbestos-containing materials (floor tiles and minimal pipe insulation) identified in Durham Public Schools and buildings.
    • Ensure that employees, students, and visitors are not exposed to asbestos fibers.
    • Prohibit contamination of air, water, and community property adjacent to school environments.
    • Conduct required inspections and repair or remove damaged ACM floor tiles.
    • Ensure that teachers and other employees report damaged or loose ACM floor tiles to Maintenance Services at the time of observation.
    • Provide annual program notices to parents/guardians and employees. 

    Hazardous Materials and Waste Management
    The district has an obligation to manage various hazardous materials identified as laboratory chemical waste, paints, laboratory specimens, and biohazard waste. Safety & Security Services coordinates these activities with other departments to ensure that:
    • Pollutants (laboratory chemicals, hazardous materials, art supplies, pesticides) are managed responsibly.
    • Ensure compliance with State and Federal regulations.
    • Staff should be mindful that laboratory chemicals and animal specimens are stored properly, labeled, and maintained in leak-proof containers.
    • Science chair persons coordinate activities at schools.
    Any inquiries should be directed to the Safety & Security Services Office at (919) 560-3607.