Office of Facilities Planning
Newsletter #53 July 2004

Get to Know us Better:

Ed Smith joined our group on June 17, 2004. He now lives in Wilton, NY with his wife Heidi and children Kate and Greg, several fish and a hermit crab.

He graduated from Roger Williams College in Rhode Island in 1982. He is a PE and a Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH). His experience includes private consulting engineering and civil service work.

He is a long suffering (except for 1986) Met fan and a long time Dallas Cowboy fan. In his spare time he enjoys reading, model railroading and fishing. In addition, he is busy shuttling the kids to baseball, soccer and Tae Kwon Do. Currently, Ed and his family are busy getting settled in their recently built house.

Suspected Terrorist Activity:

Is everyone aware of the proper methods for reporting suspicious activity? There was an incident at a BOCES where a suspicious individual made specific inquiries about courses that could be used for terrorist activity. This type of incident should be reported to the NY State Police. Residents of NY State should dial, toll-free 1-866-SAFENYS (1-866-723-3697), the statewide hotline. New York City residents should dial 1-888-NYCSAFE (1-888-692-7233). We suggest that the staff of every school district and BOCES be made aware of these telephone numbers. We would also appreciate an e-mail message be sent to Laura Sahr In addition to Health and Safety, Laura is the SED Emergency Coordinator.

Let the State Police decide if and how these incidents should be investigated.

Mercury Banned in Schools

Governor Pataki has signed a new law (effective 1-1-05) banning the sale of toys and novelties containing mercury. This same law regulates the use of mercury in primary and secondary schools (effective 9-4-04).

Existing mercury-added equipment or products, including thermometers, thermostats, switches, medical or scientific instruments, electrical relays, and lamps and batteries, which are presently in use, may remain. Replacement of existing items is necessary only if they break down or fail. There is no need to replace existing mercury products if they are in good working order and not in need of replacement. The law bans mercury in its elemental form. We recommend Elemental Mercury stored in containers in science rooms be disposed. Additionally, Mercury used in open equipment, such as manometers, should be evaluated for disposal as recommended by DEC on their website at If and when schools dispose of mercury-added products, disposal must be done through separated delivery to a DEC permitted solid waste management facility or authorized hazardous waste facility.

A copy of the Governor's press release may be found at the following link, - click on Press Releases and scroll down to July 12, 2004. The full text of the law may be found at Additional information on mercury may be found at the following web sites: or Facilities Planning is preparing a "Frequently Asked Questions Fact Sheet" which we hope to make available in the near future.

SED Anti-Virus Protection:

The disruption and lost time associated with viruses and spam carried by E-mail is an increasing problem. A part of the Education Department's efforts to stem this problem is the use of GWAVA. GWAVA is an Anti-Virus agent and Anti-Spam filtering package designed for use with GroupWise, the SED e-mail system

Persons sending e-mail to Facilities Planning staff should be aware that certain e-mail will not get through. GWAVA has been configured to block e-mail messages with the following attachment extensions and will not allow these messages to be received by the recipient:

.exe - Executable files .bat - Batch .scr - Screen savers

.cpl - Known to contain viruses .zip - Zip files .gzip - Compressed file

.hta - Known to contain viruses .pif - Program Info files .com - Command files

.vbs - Visual Basic scripts files .tar - Tape archive file

AHERA 2004 Reinspection Reminder Update;

The Federal Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA), 40 CFR 763.85(b), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) require all public and nonpublic elementary and secondary schools to re-inspect previously identified asbestos-containing building materials (ACBM) in all facilities every three years. This pertains to all buildings that are owned, leased, or otherwise used as a school building. The actual 2004 AHERA triennial re-inspection process should have been completed no later than July 9, 2004.

In conjunction with the AHERA triennial re-inspection cycle, New York State public schools must submit an asbestos reporting form to the Commissioner of Education on a triennial basis (3602-a of Chapter 53 of the Laws of 1990). The 2004 AHERA triennial re-inspection reporting process to the State Education Department will be done electronically - independent of other reporting processes. The reporting format will largely consist of "YES/NO" questions. While prior re-inspection reports were due in the October following the re-inspection process, the exact reporting date for 2004 has not yet been determined.

If your school district has not completed a triennial re-inspection, please contact your local BOCES Health and Safety Coordinator or Laura Sahr at or 518-474-3906.

An Index of our Newsletters is available on our web site at

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Please continue to send in your comments and requests. If you have a subject you would like addressed, feedback on the material you read, input or general comments we are happy to hear from you.