The Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) is a federal statute enacted in 1986 that requires local education agencies (LEAs) to inspect their schools for building material containing asbestos and prepare management plans to prevent or reduce asbestos hazards. Public school districts, non-profit private schools, charter schools, and schools affiliated with religious institutions are subject to these requirements.
The AHERA regulations require a surveillance report every six months and a comprehensive re-inspection every three years. The re-inspection period provides an excellent opportunity for schools to re-evaluate and update their programs for managing asbestos. Copies of the reports are to be maintained at both the school and LEA central office.
Schools throughout the state are subject to compliance monitoring inspections conducted by the Toxic Substance Program (TSP) under the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. Learn more about the federal AHERA program and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Health School Environment Program.
A summary of the AHERA requirements are outlined on the EPA site for asbestos in school buildings. This summary is listed below for convenience, and additional information can be found here.
AHERA regulations require public school districts, non-profit private schools, charter schools, and schools affiliated with religious institutions to:
- Perform an original inspection to determine whether asbestos-containing materials are present and then re-inspect asbestos-containing material in each school every three years
- Develop, maintain, and update an asbestos management plan and keep a copy at the school
- Provide yearly notification to parent, teacher, and employee organizations on the availability of the school's asbestos management plan and any asbestos-related actions taken or planned in the school
- Designate a contact person to ensure the responsibilities of the public school district or the non-profit school are properly implemented
- Perform periodic surveillance of known or suspected asbestos-containing building material
- Ensure that trained and licensed professionals perform inspections and take response actions
- Provide custodial staff with asbestos-awareness training
AHERA Management Plans Submissions and Recordkeeping
Requirements: LEAs are able to use any format for management plans, surveillance reports, or re-inspection reports as long as said reports contain all required information as outlined in Part §763 Subpart E – Asbestos – Containing Materials in Schools. A link to a model template that can be used by LEAs is included below under U.S. EPA resources.
Other key requirements include:
- All asbestos activities must be performed by persons accredited to do so. Asbestos accreditation requirements are available here, and see the accreditation section below for more information.
- Each school in a local educational agency (LEA) must have an individual AHERA management plan.
LEAs are no longer required to submit management plans, surveillance reports, or re-inspection reports to the department.
LEAs are required to submit a management plan to the department when “a building to be used as part of a school is leased or otherwise acquired.” Per § 763.93(a)(2) the LEA must submit the revised portions of the management plan to the designated agency prior to the building’s use as a school building. When this exception applies, LEAs must send a copy of the management plan to:
Tennessee Department of Education
710 James Robertson Parkway, 10th Floor
Nashville, TN 37243
Otherwise, LEAs are no longer required to submit copies to the department.
Records required under this section “shall be maintained in a centralized location in the administrative office of both the school and the local education agency as part of the management plan” per § 763.94 recordkeeping.
Asbestos Accreditation Program
Rule Chapter 1200-01-20 Asbestos Accreditation Requirements, effective June 23, 2009, governs asbestos accreditation requirements in Tennessee for training providers, training courses, firms, and asbestos professionals.
U.S. EPA Resources
- Fact Sheet: Federal Requirements for Asbestos Management in Schools
- What LEAs Should Know About the Asbestos National Emission Standard for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP)
- The ABCs of Asbestos in Schools
- EPA Model AHERA Asbestos Management Plan
- Note: This model says “Region 2;” however, the department has confirmed with our EPA region 4 contact that this template can be used in our region.