Wednesday, March 29, 2017

PACNY's Environmental Conference - Day 1 - And So It Begins!

This year's Professional Abatement Contractors of New York (PACNY) 21st Annual Environmental Conference was definitely more technical then previous years.  The first day of the PACNY environmental conference started with the Proficiency Workshop for Trainers.  The Proficiency Workshop speakers consisted of Mr. Kevin Malone, Director of New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH); Mr. Don Pierce of New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL); and Mr. Kevin Hutton of Eastcoast Resources; and Mr. Ed Smith of NYSDOL Engineering Services Unit.

It was a modest Day One which started with networking during lunch. Mr. Malone started the presentations by providing us with an update on the statistics of the asbestos training program.  As we have come to expect the number of individuals attending asbestos courses shrinks every year.  The 2016 stats were 26,734 total certs issued broken done 21,642 refresher certs and 5,092 initial certs issued at 3,349 total classes held.  Those numbers are down from the 2015 stats that were 27,731 total certificates issued with 22,074 refresher certs and 5,657 initial certs issued at 3,436 training courses.
 
Mr. Kevin Malone of NYSDOH
The next presenter was Mr. Pierce discussing the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) auditing update.  For those of you who don't know, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been providing New York State (NYS) with a grant to perform audits of public and private school's AHERA required management plans.  The presentation included a discussion on the process of selecting schools to be audited (randomly selected and/or based upon cause {complaint}), how the data is collected and how the information is provided back to EPA.  In addition, Mr. Pierce discussed several issues the audits have found:
  • EPA accepts electronic record-keeping, but hard copies of the original survey and asbestos management plan must be maintained at the Local Education Agency (LEA) office.
  • The LEA must assign and train a designated person to oversee asbestos activities and ensure compliance with AHERA requirements.  The designated person must be trained but does not require them to be accredited and does not list a specific course or specific number of hours. It does list specific training topics which include - health effects; detection, identification, & assessment of asbestos; options for controlling asbestos; asbestos management plan topics; and relevant Federal, State, and local regulations for asbestos.  As a side note: Future Environment Designs (FEDTC) recommends designated persons take the asbestos inspector (3 day) and management planner (2 day) initial courses to meet the AHERA requirements.
  • EPA allows two methods for new additions to existing buildings.  An architect or project engineer responsible for the construction of a new school building after October 12, 1988 or an accredited inspector to:
    • to sign a statement that no asbestos containing building materials (ACBM) was specified as a building material in any construction document for the building, or
    • to the best of his or her knowledge, no ACBM was used in any building material in the building.
    • The LEA must submit a copy of this statement to the EPA Regional Office and shall include the statement in the management plan of the school.
  • Deficiencies found by the audit included:
    • Periodic surveillances were missing or weren't well documented
    • Documentation of notifications not included or well documented
    • ACBM removal not updated in the management plan
    • Clearance air monitoring records not available per AHERA
Mr. Don Pierce of NYSDOL
After a short break, the Variance Writing Workshop with Mr. Hutton and Mr. Smith was up next.  This nearly two-hour presentation, got into the details of submitting and writing variances that Mr. Smith's Engineering Services Unit (ESU) reviews for approval, disapproval, or modification. Some of the points discussed:
Mr. Kevin Hutton of Eastcoast Resources
  • According to the Asbestos School Hazard Abatement Re-authorization Act (ASHARA) an asbestos project designer is required on Public and Commercial Building asbestos projects (including residential buildings with 10 or more dwellings).
  • When writing a variance consider your audience: DOL ESU; Abatement Contractor, Project Monitor; Asbestos Control Bureau (ACB) Inspector; Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Inspector (Compliance Safety Officer); and the Courts.
  • Mr. Smith discussed that his department handles between 1400-1500 variances a year.  About 25% are then reopened, with another 5% reopened a second time and another 5% reopened a third time.  Mr. Smith also provided us with a list of Pet Peeves regarding variance applications which included:
    • Failing to explicitly list what code sections you are requesting relief from
    • Don't be lazy and simply submit someone else's variance and state you want to do what is in that variance.  Own your work, your client is paying you to apply for a variance on their behalf.
    • "State-Wide" emergencies
    • Try to limit your write-up to the hardship and proposed steps to be taken to work around the hardship.
Mr. Ed Smith of NYSDOL Engineering Services Unit
Variance workshop ended the first day of the Conference.  That evening we celebrated & networked at the President's Reception featuring Dan the Magic Man!
John of TS Steakhouse at Turning Stone Casino

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Conference Season Has Begun! First PACNY, Next EIA, Then ADAO

We had the honor and pleasure to speak at Professional Abatement Contractors of New York (PACNY) conference this year, again.  We will discuss that in a later post on the 21st Annual PACNY Environmental Conference.  We also had the pleasure to speak at the Environmental Information Association (EIA) Fall Technical Conference in Orlando, Florida, last year.  Our presentation regarding the New York State Mold Law Article 32 "What Happens When Politicians Write Laws They Know Nothing About?" was well received and we had many comments from the audience and afterwards.  For those who wanted a copy of our presentation you can find it in our FED Training CD-Link to the Dropbox Folder under Mold and Other IAQ Documents.  This year we will be attending the EIA's 34th Annual Conference & Exhibition in Orlando Florida from March 25-29, 2017.  In addition, on March 26, 2017 we will be attending the American Council for Accredited Certification's (ACAC) Board Meeting.

Our Presentation at the EIA's Fall Technical Conference 
We are looking forward to the usual networking we get to do with the members of the ACAC and the EIA.  Like the Fall Technical Conference we are looking forward to some of the presentations at the EIA's 34th Annual Conference.  The brochure has quite a list of speakers, we are looking forward to Steve Compton's presentation on the "Resuspension of Settled Asbestos Dust - A Review of Exposure Assessments Related to Cleaning Asbestos"; David Branch's presentation on "Operating A Successful Environmental Business"; David Matson's presentation "Go Team! Consequences of Owners Picking the Wrong Team"; Andreas Saldivar's presentation on "Drywall Joint Compound by Visual Estimation, Point Counting and TEM"; and Lee Poye's presentation "Effectiveness of NIOSH 7400 for Post-Abatement Clearances - Do PCM Clearances Adequately Protect Public Health?"  These are just the one's we're interested in, the brochure has over 21 sessions that all sound interesting.  We hope to see you there!

Linda Reinstein of ADAO 
The next conference after EIA is the 13th Annual Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) International Asbestos Awareness and Prevention Conference being held at the Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel in Virginia from April 7-9, 2017.  Another excellent conference that delivers some excellent presenters discussing the hazards of asbestos and providing information regarding asbestos internationally.  Presenters this year include Dr. Barry Castleman, Alex Farquhar, Dr. Arthur Frank, Fernanda Giannasi, Dr. Richard Lemen, & Michael Borowick.  In addition, Linda Reinstein, the President of ADAO, is a fantastic speaker.   Visit ADAO's blog to learn more about the speakers.

We always enjoy conference season because of the networking and camaraderie that occurs at these events.  It does involve some time away from the business, but we find that it renews us and we always bring something back from the conferences that keeps our training new and up to date.  We highly recommend you take the time and attend these events.  We hope it rejuvenates you as much as it does us.