Rain, asbestos concerns temporarily shut down school

READING, OH (FOX19) - Recent rains and an aging roof have forced school officials to cancel classes at Hilltop Elementary in Reading.

The school will be shut down Thursday and Friday as workers make roof repairs. The district says the project began in the spring and they had hoped it would be finished before the start of school.

When rains hit this week the water weakened plaster in the building which is known to contain asbestos. The school district says they called in a private contractor to deal with the roughly 35 square feet of affected area. Environmental departments do not start regulating asbestos issues until 160 square feet are affected.

"Technically they don't have to follow the EPA regulations," explained Bradley Miller with the Hamilton County Department of Environmental Services. "But the contractor has agreed to do everything in the US EPA regulations by wetting the material, placing it in bags in a wetted condition and then take it to an approved landfill for disposal."

While roofers finish the outside, workers will be making sure the inside is ready for students' return. Many parents say they are glad the school has been shut down, saying it is better to be safe than sorry.

"They'll [also] do air monitoring to make sure the fibers are at acceptable levels," Miller assured.

The superintendent says they used two calamity days for this closure but that they have three additional blizzard days this school year so students should not be impacted in the long run.

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