The Vermont House approved legislation on March 30 that would pause the state’s initiative to test school buildings for polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Last year, the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation began its multi-phase testing for PCBs in every school in the state that was built prior to 1980, which includes six schools in the Harwood Unified Union School District (HUUSD), along with the private school GMVS. The timeline for testing schools was released last spring and slated Warren Elementary School to be tested in summer 2022. That didn’t happen.
“The testing at Warren never happened. I suspect that some of the issues they encountered with the first few schools led to a slowdown in the announced schedule,” HUUSD superintendent Mike Leichliter said in an email this week.
HUUSD director of maintenance and operations Ray Daigle added, “We are working with the ATC Group (environmental consulting and engineering services) on scheduling the testing for Warren. At this time, they are gathering information prior to performing the on-site inventory of potential sources later in April.”
In the schedule released last year, Fayston Elementary, Moretown Elementary and Waitsfield Elementary were due to be tested for PCBs between October 1, 2023, and December 31, 2023. GMVS, Harwood Union Middle and High School and Brookside Primary School were scheduled to be tested in 2024. It is not clear at this time when that will happen.
If the bill, H.486, is signed into law, PCB testing would be paused until the state creates a “School Construction Aid Task Force to examine, evaluate, and report on issues relating to school construction aid.”