Schaghticoke roof project may disregard PCBs
Published 12:41 pm, Wednesday, July 8, 2015
Plans are being prepared to replace the 94,000-square-foot roof on Schaghticoke Middle School in New Milford.
Funding would be raised via a town bond.
What is not clear, however, is whether the project would extend to cleaning up possible cancer-causing PCBs in portions of the roof.
The mayor said she regards it as a fairly simple maintenance job that doesn’t involve removal of the PCBs.
“It’s not a project,” Murphy said Monday. “It’s a hire a roofer to do the job. It will go as a capital item in the next bonding package.”
While the mayor doesn’t appear concerned about possible PCBs, school board member David Lawson has argued for removal of the contaminated caulking, and said he is puzzled that PCB removal is apparently not on the table.
“PCBs are a known carcinogen,” Lawson said. “It was my understanding that no matter who was paying for or overseeing the project, there would be further discussion about removing or not removing them.”
Since October, the school board’s facilities subcommittee had been discussing how to proceed with the roof replacement, and some board members expected PCB removal would be part of it, especially if the state were to reimburse part of the cost.
Steve Botelho, of the Garland Co., told the subcommittee in October that insulation in the original 74,000-square-foot, 1979 section of the roof is wet. To keep the metal deck from decaying, the sodden insulation has to be replaced as soon as possible, Botelho said.
Schools facilities director John Calhoun notes the main issue with the wet insulation is heat loss, but the roof is otherwise safe and air quality in the building is fine.
PCBs were found in caulking around a skylight window, but a hygienist hired by the school district in December said that is not a concern as long as the material is not disturbed.
Over the course of the winter and spring, the facilities and operations subcommittees debated whether to apply for state reimbursement to help replace the entire 94,000 square feet of roof at once or to replace it without state assistance, section by section.
The board voted 7-2 at its May meeting to put the roof replacement in the hands of the town. Murphy said the request did not include PCB removal or state involvement.
Lawson also said in October that replacement of the portion of the roof installed in 1979 would be “urgent.”
“Now it appears it’s not urgent,” he said. “I’m rather confounded by that. But my primary concern is the lack of attention to the PCBs.”