• FCS Responds to Environmental Study

    August 30, 2019
     
    Mr. Sewell spoke at the August School Board meeting about the progress at Needham and Webb over the summer.  
     
     
    Pre and Post Mitigation Results + Outdoor Results - Needham & Webb Elementary
     
     
    August 7, 2019
     
    FCS is pleased to report that the mitigation systems are installed and operating as intended.  As a reminder, previous indoor air sample results at both schools were non-detect.  The mitigation system is intended to ensure that remains the case moving forward. 
     
    corner of a room with ceiling exposed. White piping in the corner all the way up through the ceiling.   same area as picture to left, piping is no longer exposed and is covered by drywall. Small basketball goal is in front.   
    Progression of the mitigation process can be seen above.  In the previous update, piping was at the beginning stages.  The picture on the left shows the piping coming up and through the ceiling. The photo on the right shows the same area after the wall was rebuilt around the piping.  
     
    a fan on the roof of Webb Elementary. White piping coming out of roof hooked to metal cylinder.
    Fans were installed on the roofs of both Needham and Webb Elementary. (shown Webb Elementary) 
     
    June 14, 2019 

    Mitigation began this week at Webb Elementary.  This week, holes were drilled into the core and piping was installed and sealed at the top at each necessary point in the building.  Next week, the process will begin where pipes are connected and will it will begin to look more like the drawing outlined below and linked.  

    corner of the room where a small pipe is sticking out of the floor and is sealed shut at the top

    corner of the room where a small pipe is sticking out of the floor and is sealed shut at the top

    Diagram attached as pdf above.

    May 22, 2019
     

    FCS Receives Latest Sampling Results

    On May 4 and 5, 2019, EnviroForensics conducted another round of sampling of indoor air, outdoor air, and sub-slab samples and Needham and Webb Elementary Schools.

    EnviroForensics collected 10 sub-slab samples at Needham and seven samples at Webb. Out of the 17 samples collected, all came back either non-detect or below the residential sub-slab vapor screening level.  EnviroForensics sampled for the same volatile organic compounds (VOCs) as in previous tests.

    EnviroForensics also collected 10 indoor air samples and three outdoor air samples at Needham and seven indoor air and three outdoor air samples at Webb.  FCS is happy to report that all of these indoor and outdoor samples showed no detection of PCE, TCE, or any other chemical of concern.

    On May 13, 2019, the Board of School Trustees approved a contract to install a sub-slab depressurization system in each building.  The systems will be installed during summer break.

    Figures and tables from the indoor air, outdoor air, and sub-slab sampling are posted below.

    Needham and Webb May Sampling Results 

     
     
    April 17, 2019
     
     
    March 29, 2019
     
    Statement from EnviroForensics
     

    The results of indoor air sampling conducted at Webb and Needham Elementary Schools have been received, and we are happy to report that none of those samples contained detectable concentrations of PCE, TCE, or any other chemical of concern. As such, the buildings pass applicable screening criteria for residential occupation.

    The sampling was performed in two phases to more fully understand the indoor air conditions. First, a total of 12 indoor air samples were collected from Webb, and a total of 10 indoor air samples were collected from Needham over an 8-hour period, during representative school hours on March 23rd. Then, 24-hour indoor air samples were initiated at those same locations on the morning of March 24th. As previously stated, the results of both sets of these indoor air samples showed no detection of PCE, TCE, or any other chemical of concern at either Webb or Needham Elementary Schools.

    The 24-hour indoor air sampling event was paired with another round of sub-slab vapor sampling conducted on March 25th. The results of this sub-slab sampling event were similar to those from the March 9th event, although the detected concentrations of PCE and TCE were lower overall. In Webb, where there were previously three exceedances of the sub-slab vapor screening level for TCE, the most recent sampling results contained only two. In Needham, where there were previously two exceedances of the sub-slab screening level for TCE, the most recent sampling results contained none.

    • The conservative residential sub-slab vapor screening level for TCE is 70 micrograms per cubic meter.
    • There were no exceedances of this screening level from beneath Needham.
    • The two exceeding values of TCE from beneath Webb were 97.8 and 105 micrograms per cubic meter.
    • None of the sub-slab vapors collected from beneath Needham or Webb contained concentrations of PCE above the residential screening level of 1,400 micrograms per cubic meter.

    In response to concerns about the potential for nearby sewers to be acting as pathways for vapors that could migrate from off-site sources, all accessible floor drains inside both Webb and Needham were screened with field equipment for the presence of volatile compounds. Air samples were collected from inside the five floor drains in each school that presented the highest potential for impacts. The results showed that only one of the air samples collected from within the floor drains contained any chemicals of concern, which was 9.9 micrograms per cubic meter of PCE from a faculty bathroom. Although not directly applicable, this is significantly lower than the IDEM residential indoor air screening level of 42 micrograms per cubic meter. These results demonstrate that vapors from the floor drains are not of significant concern to the indoor air quality of the schools. Franklin Community Schools will be installing a corrective device in the faculty bathroom floor drain where PCE was found and ensuring that all drains are maintained properly.  

    Again, the combined results of this sampling event demonstrate that the indoor air in Needham and Webb buildings contain no detectable concentrations of TCE or PCE, and they both pass applicable screening criteria for residential occupation. Given the continued presence of TCE and PCE in vapors beneath the floors of Webb and Needham, an additional indoor air sampling event and the proactive installation of sub-slab depressurization systems at both schools has been recommended as additional measures of safety. Immediate steps are being taken by the school corporation to prepare for this work.

     
    Needham and Webb Elementary Schools To Welcome Students Back on Monday, April 1st
     

    Franklin, IN -- Franklin Community Schools has had extensive conversations with environmental experts including EnviroForensics, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM), Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  The data, including all 44 indoor air samples showing no detections, provides strong evidence the air in the schools is safe. Franklin Community Schools looks forward to welcoming students and staff back from Spring Break on Monday, April 1st.

    On Wednesday, March 20, Franklin Community Schools received results from the follow-up sub-slab vapor sampling performed under winter seasonal conditions at Needham and Webb Elementary.  On Saturday, March 23, EnviroForensics started additional sampling.

    EnviroForensics collected 20 indoor air samples paired with 10 additional follow-up sub-slab samples at Needham Elementary and 24 indoor air samples paired with seven additional follow-up sub-slab samples at Webb.  EnviroForensics also screened all accessible floor drains and collected air samples from five floor drains at each school. The indoor samples included 8-hour samples on Saturday followed by 24-hour samples on Sunday into Monday.  The results of all 44 indoor air samples showed no detection of PCE, TCE, or any other chemical of concern at either Webb or Needham Elementary Schools.

    The sub-slab sampling results were similar to the March 9th winter worst-case sampling event but were lower overall.  All 10 sub-slab samples at Needham came back below IDEM screening levels. Five of the seven sub-slab samples at Webb came back below IDEM screening levels.  One air sample collected from a floor drain within Webb detected a low level of PCE at a concentration significantly below IDEM screening levels. All other drains in both schools were non-detect.  The 44 non-detect indoor air sample results give assurance that the air at Needham and Webb is safe.

    FCS remains committed to ensuring student and staff safety by taking proactive steps to address contaminants under the slabs.  This issue can be remedied with the preemptive mitigation step of installing a sub-slab depressurization system. Preemptive mitigation activities will take place outside of the regularly scheduled school day.  We are also planning another monitoring event before the end of the school year to confirm the indoor air remains safe.

    Dr. Clendening and FCS will continue to rely on recommendations from the experts (EnviroForensics and guidelines from the EPA, IDEM and ATSDR).  The EPA and IDEM have indicated that preemptive mitigation is within the acceptable guidelines. In the interest of student and staff safety as well as a long-term resolution to the sub-slab sampling results, FCS will move forward with preemptive mitigation.

    FCS will post the full sampling results to our website later today as soon as we receive them.  

    Needham Vapor Intrusion with Outdoor Air Results

    Webb Vapor Intrusion with Outdoor Air Results

    Needham and Webb Floor Drain Results

     

    March 28, 2019

    Thank you for your patience as Franklin Community Schools continues to work through this process.  Late this afternoon, we received preliminary data from EnviroForensics. In consultation with EnviroForensics and other agencies, we are making final decisions regarding the educational options for the students at Needham and Webb Elementary.  FCS understands that parents and the community are eager to learn the results of the sampling, as well as next steps. That information will be shared as soon as possible.  

    March 22, 2019

    Statement from EnviroForensics

    In response to nearby contamination concerns, the school corporation collected a series of outdoor ambient air, soil gas and sub-slab vapor samples in August of 2018 at Needham and Webb Elementary Schools. The results of these sampling events indicated the presence of two chlorinated solvent compounds, TCE and PCE, in the subsurface at both school properties. The identified concentrations were below applicable vapor intrusion screening criteria, and there was no threat of an indoor air problem at that time. State risk assessors agreed, and they recommended that no further sampling would be necessary.

    Since the potential for vapor intrusion to occur can fluctuate seasonally as temperature, moisture, and ambient pressure conditions change, the school corporation pledged at that time to perform a follow-up sub-slab vapor sampling event under winter seasonal conditions. Additionally, the school corporation worked with their engineers to adjust the Needham and Webb schools air conditioning units to increase the amount of fresh air being cycled through the buildings, and to create a positive pressure inside the schools. Both measures are common responses to vapor intrusion concerns. These measures were implemented as an additional factor of safety. Both schools have been operating under these conditions since the start of classes in August.

    At the request of the school corporation, EnviroForensics performed the follow-up sub-slab vapor sampling event on March 9th by again collecting vapor samples from beneath the floors of the Needham and Webb schools. The resulting data were validated on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week and reported to the school corporation on Wednesday evening.

    The results show that the sub-slab vapor concentrations of both TCE and PCE increased since the August 2018 sampling event, most likely due to winter seasonal conditions. 2 of 10 sub-slab vapor samples collected from beneath Needham, and 3 of 7 samples collected from beneath Webb contained concentrations of TCE above the screening level for a residential occupancy scenario.

    • The conservative sub-slab vapor screening level for TCE is 70 micrograms per cubic meter.
    • The exceeding values from beneath Needham are 96.2 and 100 micrograms per cubic meter.
    • The exceeding values from beneath Webb are 242, 849, and 225 micrograms per cubic meter.
    • None of the sub-slab vapors collected from beneath Needham or Webb contained concentrations of PCE above the residential screening level of 1,400 micrograms per cubic meter.

    I reiterate that these results are from sub-slab vapor samples collected from beneath the concrete floors of these buildings, not the indoor air itself. A conservative interpretation of these data could indicate that the potential exists for some TCE to make its way through the floors of the school buildings to the indoor air. Given the large size of the Needham and Webb buildings and the proactive ventilation measures already implemented at the schools, it is uncertain if indoor air has been adversely impacted. As such, indoor air sampling is being performed this weekend with the goal of getting the results by the middle of next week.

    Upon review of the indoor air sampling results, the school corporation will know if and when additional indoor air mitigation measures should be initiated.

    Needham and Webb Sub-Slab Results March 2019 

    March 21, 2019

    As recommended by EnviroForensics, Franklin Community Schools requested a second round of sampling be conducted during the winter. Samples of air were taken from below the concrete floor at Needham Elementary and Webb Elementary and sent to a lab for analysis. FCS received preliminary results today.  The results in three out of seven samples at Webb Elementary and two out of 10 samples at Needham Elementary were above the Indiana Department of Environmental Management’s (IDEM) screening levels.

    Student and staff safety is our number one priority. Out of an abundance of caution, FCS will be implementing an E-Learning Day tomorrow, March 21st for Needham Elementary and Webb Elementary.  During spring break, EnviroForensics will be conducting additional sampling. FCS will provide an update on Thursday, March 28th.

     

    August 7, 2018

    From the beginning, FCS understood that our expertise is educating and growing children.  FCS immediately hired an independent consultant to guide the district through this intricate process.  The district is encouraged by the sampling results and will continue to follow the recommendations from EnviroForensics.   

    It is understood that this is an extremely emotional conversation, however, it is one that we believe still needs to occur with not only emotion but by also using systemic scientific process.  FCS is anchored by Guiding Principles. We believe that a systemic continuous process for evaluating data and making decisions based on the required planning and studying of this issue leads us to the best answer for all our students, faculty, staff, and community.

    Another Guiding Principle is trust.  This core principle requires that FCS be transparent and bring forth the best available resources. The district has a member of the FCS team that has an abundance of knowledge in this domain. EnviroForensics has been an exceptional partner in this journey of gathering information, data and developing a systematic plan to ensure safety for our students and staff. FCS will continue to follow the lead of this outside expert.  

    While the testing has been concluded for FCS, any further information from the experts will be reviewed and responded to by the FCS leadership.  We are looking forward to tomorrow as it begins another great year for FCS!

     

    August 6, 2018

    Franklin Community Schools conferenced with EnviroForensics to discuss the results from the sub-slab sampling at Needham and Webb elementary.  

    On Tuesday, July 31, EnviroForensics placed 17 sub-slab sample ports in the floors at Needham and Webb elementary.  Samples from the ports were collected the following day. Out of the 17 samples collected, all came back either non-detect or below the residential sub-slab vapor screening level. EnviroForensics sampled for the same volatile organic compounds (VOCs) as in previous tests.

    “We remain committed to the safety of our students and staff and we continue to rely on guidance from EnviroForensics, IDEM, and the Indiana State Department of Health,” Dr. David Clendening, Superintendent said. “Based on the findings we look forward to the start of school on August 8th.”

    The table from the sub-slab sampling is attached below.  

    Sub-Slab Sample Results 

     

    July 31, 2018

    Franklin Community Schools met with EnviroForensics to discuss the results from recent sampling at Needham and Webb elementary in response to the report published by the Edison Wetlands Association.

    Last week, EnviroForensics placed six ambient air samples on top of and around Needham and Webb elementary.  They also placed a weather station on the roof at Needham to verify the wind direction was right for the samples to detect the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that were identified at a nearby source.  Each of those samples came back as non-detect.    

    EnviroForensics also collected six soil gas samples near the two schools.  The analytical results from the soil gas samples contained trace levels of VOCs, although they were all significantly below the health protective levels as established by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM). PCE results range from 5.77 μg/m3 to 67.3 μg/m3, which are all substantially below the IDEM residential shallow soil gas screening level of 420 μg/m3.   One of the six samples detected TCE at a concentration of 1.67 μg/m3, which is also well below the screening level of 21 μg/m3.

    These results were shared with IDEM during a conference call.  In accordance with IDEM guidelines, these results do not require additional samples, however, out of an abundance of caution we are taking the next step in the IDEM screening process and conducting sub-slab sampling in both schools.  Sampling began today. 

    “From the beginning of this process, we committed to the safety of students and staff relying on EnviroForensics and IDEM to guide us,” Dr. David Clendening, Superintendent said. “Based on the initial findings and barring unexpected results from the sub-slab sampling, we are excited that the Needham and Webb families, in addition to all FCS families, will be returning to their schools on August 8th." 

    Figures and tables from the ambient air and soil gas sampling are posted below.  The figures and tables from the sub-slab sampling will be made available at the Community Forum on Friday, August 3, and on the FCS website. 

    Ambient Air Results

    Ambient Air Map

    Soil Gas Sample Results

    Soil Gas Sample Map

     

    July 25, 2018

    After EnviroForensics reported on Monday that some public records were not immediately available to support their review, they recommended sampling at Needham and Webb elementary. The wind direction forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday was favorable for the air sampling and became an ideal time for the sampling to occur.

    “From the time we received the reports and moved to sampling, we followed a systematic approach that will give us the best information to move forward. We are committed to seeing this process through to ensure student and staff safety,” Jeff Sewell, Director of Operations said.  “We would like to thank EnviroForensics for providing a quick response to our request for expert assistance.”

    “We appreciate Edison Wetlands Association and If It Was Your Child reaching out to us,” Dr. Clendening, Superintendent said.  “We received correspondence from them Tuesday but had already mobilized the sampling team from EnviroForensics. We understand that we are both working toward a common goal of keeping our students and staff safe. We welcome future partnerships with all interested parties.”

    Franklin Community Schools will continue to share information with the community and will have preliminary results by next week.  

     

    July 21, 2018

    FCS would like to bring the community up-to-date regarding the steps we are taking to follow up on the recent report published by the Edison Wetlands Association. Any issue that affects children in our community is of interest to Franklin Community Schools. We are committed to the safety of our students and staff at Needham and Webb Elementary. We are a close-knit community and we understand the emotion connected to this issue.

    On Thursday, Jeff Sewell, Director of Operations attended a meeting with the City of Franklin and a number of agencies including the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM), the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA), and the Indiana State Department of Health.  

    Our understanding is that there have been ongoing clean up and monitoring efforts in place at the former Amphenol site, and the US EPA has asked Amphenol to prepare a work plan describing how they will evaluate the current conditions at the site. While we are encouraged by these actions, we are contracting with an independent consultant, EnviroForensics, to evaluate existing environmental studies and advise us on more immediate steps. We are working diligently to complete this evaluation before the start of school.    

    “Clearly, our focus and expertise are growing and educating children," Dr. David Clendening, Superintendent said. "We are working with industry experts to help us take appropriate steps to ensure we are providing a safe learning environment for our students.”  

    FCS will update the school community next Thursday.  In the event new information becomes available, we will share at that time.

     

    July 18, 2018

    Dear FCS Families, 

    As we prepare for the start of the 2018-2019 school year, I wanted to reach out to let you know how we are handling the recent news of air quality concerns near two of our schools.

    Earlier this week results of an environmental study were shared.  Needham and Webb Elementary are near the areas of concern. I want to reassure you that our school board, faculty, and staff want to make sure our buildings are ready and safe for the start of our school year.  I know our parents and community members share that same desire.

    FCS is committed to taking care of our students. Needham and Webb will receive special attention in the coming days to ensure a safe learning environment.

    We have retained the services of a company that specializes in environmental investigations including air studies. We are also in communication with IDEM (Indiana Department of Environmental Management) and the city of Franklin regarding their response to the study.      

    I have placed Jeff Sewell, Director of Operations, as the lead person for FCS on this matter. Jeff’s previous professional work was with IDEM. He has outstanding working knowledge of the tests and an ability to interpret the reports. I am confident under his guidance we are in a very good place to quickly obtain answers and prepare for the start of another school year.

    When information is available pertaining to these two schools, I will make sure our school community gets it as soon as possible.  Our goal is to ease any concerns about attending these two outstanding schools. If you have any questions regarding this matter, please email fcscommunications@franklinschools.org or call 317.346.8700.  

    Thank you for taking the time to read this letter, and for allowing us to teach the students in this community. Franklin is a special place to call home and to go to school. I am confident that this concern will only further draw us close and supportive of all in our community.

    Sincerely, 

    David Clendening

    Dr. David Clendening

    Superintendent