CNS Environmental

Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act

The Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) was signed into law in 1986. The purpose of the act was to provide officials in schools, grades K-12, with rules and guidance for the management of asbestos-containing materials. The majority of asbestos related procedures and regulations are based on this act.

There are four main components of AHERA. First, it directs the EPA to promulgate regulations which provide a framework for addressing asbestos hazards in schools. The EPA responded with 40 CFR 763, in which regulatory standards are established for:

  • Inspections
  • Circumstances which require response actions (abatement activity)
  • Appropriate response actions
  • Implementation of response actions
  • Operations and maintenance programs
  • Periodic surveillance of asbestos
  • Transport and disposal
  • Management plan requirements for schools

Second, all public and private elementary and secondary schools are directed to conduct inspections for asbestos-containing materials (ACM) and develop management plans which describe abatement actions which will be undertaken. Third, states are to use the EPA's model accreditation programs to develop their own accreditation programs for inspectors, management plan developers and abatement contractors. Fourth, schools should implement their management plans within two years and eight months and complete appropriate response actions in a timely fashion.

The Asbestos School Hazard Abatement Reauthorization Act (ASHARA) of 1992 extended AHERA regulations to cover public and commercial buildings.