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EPA fines six Arizona school districts for asbestos violations

Six Arizona School districts are facing some hefty federal fines if they don’t clean up asbestos contamination in classrooms and administration buildings.

EPA inspectors found a variety of violations, including cancer-causing asbestos fibers in walls and floor tiles at some school buildings.  The Apache Junction, Florence, McNary, St. John’s, Vernon and Round Valley districts will have to pay fines totaling $95,000.

Dana Hawman is with the Florence School District, one of the biggest violators. It was fined more than $31,000. She said Florence has removed asbestos in some buildings dating back to 1915. 

"Anytime you have buildings constructed before 1988, chances are there was asbestos used in construction. So, with the EPA coming out and testing it certainly enlightened us," Hawman said.

Hawman said no students in her district were exposed to asbestos. The districts are allowed to subtract the costs of asbestos removal from the amount of the EPA fines.