Matthew Langenfeld, USEPA, Region 8, School Chemical Cleanout Coordinator
The 2008 Healthy Schools Heroes Award goes to a TEAM of five people who demonstrate how state and federal agencies can take leadership for school safety. Nomination by Randy Brown, of the US EPA, Region 8 (8P-TA), Tribal Assistance Program, Denver, CO
Randy Brown writes:
Matthew Langenfeld manages and leads EPA, Region 8 School Cleanout and Indian Country School Laboratory Hazard Consultation Program efforts.
Mr. Langenfeld has made Indian Country School Laboratory Cleanout a strategic priority. The primary objective is to make Indian Country Schools safer for school children. To date, 20 Indian Country schools have been cleaned out in collaboration with
Tribes, Rocky Mountain College, American Indian Affairs, Montana Department of Environmental Quality, and the Wyoming Department of Education. He has provided a power point presentation on goals, hazardous and toxic materials found in schools, incompatible storage, art and maintenance chemicals, collaboration, successes, behavior changes needed, and online materials for the Region 8 Children's Environmental Health Summits in 2006 and 2007. A copy of his Power Point presentation will be made available on request.
Langenfeld has been very dedicated to improving the safety of tribal and rural schools for all school children. He has made himself consistently available as a resource to ensure that schools were assessed, inventories, cost estimates, funding obtained and schools cleaned out in a timely manner. He has led the collective group and ensured their cohesiveness. He has prioritized those schools that have exhibited the greatest risk and severity for exposure and followed through on cleanout. He has led many conversations with school administrators, superintendents, and principals encouraging cleanout activities and offering suggestions for funding opportunities. He recently recognized unacceptable exposure and explosive hazards in schools. He made the cleanout of unsafe storage of 19.2 pounds of elemental mercury in a polyethylene Gatorade bottle, cyanide salt next to arsenous acid capable of creating deadly hydrogen cyanide gas, extremely corrosive hydrofluoric acid, strong oxidizers next to flammable substances, and thermite reaction chemicals a very high priority. These unacceptable hazards have been abated and the chemicals safely collected for proper disposal as hazardous waste.
SCHOOL CHEMICAL CLEANOUT: WIND RIVER INDIAN RESERVATION: Mr. Matthew Langenfeld organized representatives from the Eastern Shoshone Tribe, Northern Arapaho Tribe, Wind River Environmental Quality Commission, Wyoming Department of Education, Wyoming Public Schools, Roche Colorado Corporation, and EPA to assess school chemical cleanout needs at ten schools on the Wind River Indian Reservation during the week of July 30, 2007. Chemical inventories were completed and proper disposal of hazardous chemicals was discussed. Improper storage of a flammable substance was immediately corrected. Numerous toxic and hazardous chemicals including mercury, mercuric chloride, arsenic metal, lead nitrate, lead tetroxide, potassium dichromate, ammonium hydroxide, bromine gas, carbon disulfide, and methanol were located and added to the schools inventory for future disposal.
TRIBAL SCHOOL CHEMICAL CLEANOUT: FLATHEAD RESERVATION: Mr. Langenfeld organized representatives from the collaborative team of EPA, Montana Public Schools, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs schools to assess school chemical cleanout needs at the Flathead Reservation during the week of August 13, 2007. A total of eight (8) schools were assessed. Incompatible chemical storage of a strong base in an acid cabinet was immediately corrected. Significant volumes and numerous toxic chemicals including hydrofluoric acid, potassium cyanide, arsenic trioxide, ammonium dichromate, carbon disulfide, mercury, mercuric chloride, lead nitrate, cadmium chloride, ammonium hydroxide, carbon tetrachloride, methanol, benzene, toluene and xylene were located and inventory information was obtained for potential future disposal.
SCHOOL CHEMICAL CLEANOUT: PARK SCHOOL DISTRICT, ESTES PARK, COLORADO: In collaboration with Mr. Matthew Langenfeld of Region 8's Pollution Prevention and Toxics Unit, the School District arranged for collection and proper disposal of toxic and hazardous chemicals during the summer of 2007. Numerous toxic chemicals including mercuric oxide, lead chloride, cadmium nitrate, chromium sulfate, barium chloride, testosterone, polyvinyl alcohol, ethylene glycol, formaldehyde, hydroquinone, xylene, hexane, and benzene were collected by a hazardous waste broker. A total of 398 pounds of chemicals were manifested and shipped for disposal. Funding was leveraged as the School District paid 5% of disposal costs. A Standard Operating Procedure for safe use and storage of chemicals has been completed, teachers trained on safe use of chemicals, and remaining chemicals cataloged and tracked. These actions have made Park School District schools safer for Colorado school children.
SCHOOL CHEMICAL CLEANOUT: MESA COUNTY VALLEY SCHOOL DISTRICT, GRAND JUNCTION, COLORADO: In collaboration with Mr. Matthew Langenfeld of EPA Region 8's Pollution Prevention and Toxics Unit, the School District arranged for collection and proper disposal of toxic and hazardous chemicals during the summer of 2007. Numerous toxic chemicals including ammonium molybdate, lead oxide, lead sulfide, lead nitrate, lithium and sodium metal, silver nitrate, chromium, potassium chromate, barium chloride, barium peroxide, phosphorus pentoxide, adrenaline, testosterone, polyvinyl alcohol, methanol, heptane, and hexane were collected and disposed of by the Mesa County Hazardous Waste Collection Program. A total of 572 pounds of chemicals were manifested and shipped for disposal. Funding was leveraged as the School District paid 5percent of disposal costs. Teachers were trained in Hazardous Waste and Classroom Safety and a purchasing policy was enacted. The purchasing policy worked, as an attempt to order mercuric chloride was prevented. Chemicals were inventoried and micro-scale laboratories included in the curriculum. These actions have made Mesa County Valley School District schools safer for Colorado school children.
SCHOOL CHEMICAL CLEANOUT: SHERIDAN SCHOOL DISTRICT, SHERIDAN, COLORADO: In collaboration with Mr. Matthew Langenfeld of EPA Region 8, numerous hazardous and toxic chemicals were cleaned from the Sheridan School District Middle and High Schools in 2006 and 2007. Teachers were trained on chemical safety; a chemical management plan was developed; and a purchasing policy was enacted. Chemicals including ammonium persulfate; arsenic trioxide; chromic acid; formaldehyde; hexane; lead dioxide, oxide, acetate, and metal; mercury oxide; potassium cyanide and dichromate; and sodium hydroxide were collected by a hazardous waste broker. A total of 934 pounds of chemicals were manifested and shipped for proper disposal.