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Environmental Management

Van Lewis, Manager (18 years with M&O, manager 8 years) 9 Inspectors/staff

The fundamental purpose of the M&O division is any school system is supporting academic performance − and clean and safe indoor air is compulsory to a students’ ability to focus on classroom instruction and achieve academic success! In looking after the wellbeing of students and other occupants, APS has been ahead of the nation’s public schools since it established its own environmental management program in 1989 in response to asbestos abatement legislation becoming effective. The Department provides first-rate environmental services at a fraction of the cost over hiring outside contractors, and has never failed an EPA asbestos inspection audit nor has ever been cited for non-compliance of any environmental regulation. As new EPA regulations come into effect the APS Environmental Management Department responds accordingly.

APS environmental inspectors, certified in a number of environmental disciplines, conduct scheduled EPA and OSHA delegated inspections and manage the resolution of ascertained contaminants, such as asbestos, mold, radon, and lead-based paint. And in meeting federal and state compliance, inspectors also conduct scheduled drinking and wastewater sampling and immediately correct irregularities if found.

Lastly, the Department personnel mitigate and oversee the safe handling of contaminant materials (floors, ceilings, walls, plumbing) present in repairs performed by M&O Craft Shops as well as demolitions and renovations conducted by Facilities Design + Construction. The applicable Shop or Division must request an AHERA Compliance Work Plan prior to commencing any repair work, demolition, or remodeling construction. The environmental inspectors review the site’s history, sample the affected materials for analysis, and generate the AHERA permit which outlines in precise detail how to carry out the work safely.

Due to the nature of the Department’s government mandated tasks and support to M&O and FD+C, ‘preventive maintenance’ work is not easily defined or quantified. While APS is distinctively fortunate to control its own environmental management program, it is also understandable that a work order system is not perfect for measuring or managing environment PM work orders as the Environment Management Department does not “prevent” future maintenance. Nonetheless, tasks that can be managed through PM Direct currently are, and the list is growing.

The value of APS housing its own environment management is immeasurable on all fronts – providing students with clean and safe environments conducive to learning; substantially reduced cost to taxpayers; and the ability to control costs and liabilities in the astute management of environmental issues.


Supported two large asbestos abatement projects

At the new Food Services / Central Kitchen currently under major renovation (old K-Mart at Lomas and Louisiana), managed the safe remediation of exterior asbestos coating and removal of interior asbestos floor tile and sheetrock. As this massive job required working around the general building contractor’s schedule, the project was protracted over several months.

The rebuild of Wilson Middle School included completely gutting the main building which held administrative space, the library, and the majority of the school’s classrooms. Overseeing the safe demolition and removal of the numerous hazardous building materials took approximately four months.

Resolved record number of indoor mold issues

Due to record breaking rainfall in 2013, schools experienced a corresponding and predictable number of mold problems and water damage clean-up — a 32.7% increase in indoor air quality work orders over the previous fiscal year.

PM Direct scheduling increased 23.2%

In spite of the fact that environmental work projects are not applicable to the preventive maintenance paradigm, PM Direct is enormously helpful in scheduling the Department’s inspections conducted monthly, quarterly, annually, or every three years – increasing the number 23.2% over the previous fiscal year. However, the Department is currently wrestling with holding the “average days aged” down as the system schedules WOs a bit faster than they can realistically be executed.

Cost of asbestos bulk sampling reduced by 55%

Due to the local chemistry laboratory ceasing the analysis of quick-turnaround (a few hours) asbestos samples, the Department is sending the samples to a Phoenix lab at a $22 savings per sample and a single day-turnaround. While the previous same day processing was more expedient, next day turnaround has proven to be quite manageable at a considerable savings.

Most proven in-house insurance adjusters assigned exclusively to the Department

Several years ago the APS Risk Management Division hired in-house adjusters in saving the substantial “hourly” costs of engaging contract adjusters. In-house adjusters can contain the scope-of-project to actual disaster-caused damage versus the practice of outside insurance adjusters inflating the damage and subsequent price unnecessarily. The newly employed APS adjusters, however, had to ascend the learning curve of evaluating the impact and potential for mold growth and its contribution to structural damage. With the help of Environmental Management Department personnel, they have done so and those with the most demonstrated structural expertise have been assigned to work exclusively with the Department reducing damage restoration cost, effort, and time.

Investigated, identified, and corrected water treatment system at Corrales Elementary School

A complete revamping of the mechanical room’s potable water plumbing system and chlorinator caused “water hammering.” The pressure shock and spike adversely affected the well piping causing the normally very high quality water pumped from an 800-foot deep well to test positive for chloroform bacteria. The Department Manager was able to identify the source of the problem – 120 feet of aging pipe – which was replaced correcting the problem.

New PM program

  • San Antonito Elementary School – wastewater system inspections (monthly)
  • Corrales Elementary School – wetlands inspection (monthly)


Status of 2013-14 Fiscal Year Goals

2013-14 Goals

  • Refurbish the wetland cells to ensure proper wastewater treatment at Corrales Elementary School. Due
    to the age of the wetlands, cells have become overgrown and not working as economically or ecologically
    as designed. On hold. The Village of Corrales has temporarily connected their wastewater system to the
    County. So while the system is currently working properly, a rebuild is yet necessary and will be attempted
    during winter of 2015.
  • Draft Department Procedures Manual. In progress.
  • Redistribute tasks of the Inspectors to be more specialized and conserve time and resources. Currently
    all Inspectors perform all environmental tasks at their assigned schools. Process was stared in the last
    fiscal year but has not been fully developed. Not Completed. Moved to 2014-15 FY.

2014-15 Fiscal Year Goals

  • Renew the Wastewater Discharge Permit for wetlands at Corrales Elementary School.
  • Refurbish the wetland cells to ensure proper wastewater treatment at Corrales Elementary School. (Moved from last FY)
  • Redistribute tasks of the Inspectors to be more specialized and conserve time and resources. (Moved from last FY)
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